Daniel Gehrs Wines2005 Eleganza
(Santa Barbara County)
“High fidelity wines since 1976,” is the motto on every Daniel Gehrs Wines back label. Which is to say that “Dan the Man” is no Johnny come lately to winemaking. He had a long running stint with Congress Springs Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Elliston in the Bay Area, before departing for Santa Barbara County in 1993 to help Zaca Mesa Winery refocus on their wines. And he’s never looked back. After the 1997 harvest, he became solely devoted to his own eponymous label.
His proprietary named “Eleganza,” a Chardonnay/Viognier blend is not as unusual as it might seem. Bob Lindquist at Qupé Wine Cellars has been doing a blend for years and other winemakers are exploring it. This particular 2005 version is interesting for the winemaker’s vision: the Chardonnay is entirely cold fermented in stainless steel and sees no oak; the Viognier was barrel fermented and age in French oak. The result may be the best of both worlds. Wonderfully perfumed aromatics, such as floral and lemon drop, are obvious from the start. The flavors are equally compelling, with green apple, white flowers and minerals with a bit of submerged nutty, brown wood spice. The Chardonnay provides the lemony, bright acidity and backbone, while the Viognier just compounds the flavor oomph and that little bit of oak provides just a spicy grace note.
Reviewed July 10, 2007 by Dennis Schaefer.
Dennis Schaefer has been tasting and writing about wine for over 30 years, propelled by a continuing curiosity and burgeoning enthusiasm for discovering what’s in the bottle. Blessed with catholic tastes, he enjoys everything from the obvious to the sublime. A major requirement is that the vineyard, winery and winemaker consistently perform well and fulfill their potential. Balance, concentration and complexity are key to the tasting experience but, in the end, the purpose of wine is simply to give pleasure.