Eyrie Vineyards2004 Muscat Ottonel, Estate
Pardon me if it sounds like I am gushing, but this Muscat Ottonel from Eyrie is one of the most satisfying white wines I have tasted in some time. I am always a sucker for any Muscat, dry or sweet, and this wine is a thinking man’s Muscat – it has all the beautiful aromatic attributes one loves in Muscat, but it is much more than a simply blowsy, in-your-face tart. The aromas are pure Muscat with Rose petals and Jasmine blossoms. These delicate floral qualities are complemented by cardamom spice and honeydew melon. All of this carries through to the palate where it is joined by bitter orange rind and Turkish delight lingering on the finish. The wine is fairly full bodied and very dry with a slightly tannic grip, and a perfectly balanced 12 percent alcohol. This wine is pleasing on so many levels: it’s a winner as an aromatic wine; a superb and versatile food wine with its dry and tart palate-cleansing acidity; a wine to ponder with its deeply layered complexity; and a winemaker’s wine in its exquisite tightrope balance.
I would drink this wine any day, any time, any occasion, if only I could. The vineyard source is a small block in the original Eyrie Vineyard site, where only enough is planted to yield at best about 50 cases, and only in those vintages where this finicky and unpredictable variety obliges the winery with a respectable crop, if any at all. This sad reality is reflected by the opening message on the label -“this is a very limited bottling”. Not surprisingly, this wine is only available at the winery tasting room, where they inform tasters that this is the one that winemaker David Lett likes to drink. Duhh, no kidding.
Reviewed December 14, 2007 by Adam Dial.
Brought up in a family with winery ventures in both California and Canada, Adam Dial seeks and appreciates diversity and individuality in wines. He is a Sommelier with more than two decades of experience in the hospitality and service industry, and is a respected wine educator, judge and industry advisor. In 2003 Adam Dial co-founded Appellation America.