Fess Parker Winery has recently released a new line of wine under the Purité label to showcase white wines that aren’t touched by Oak. Quite a few wine drinkers today love big, buttery, oaky Chardonnays, and the industry reflects that, as most Chardonnays sold are oaked in some way and/or go through malolactic fermentation or sur lie aging. But those wines just aren’t the greatest with food (unless your limiting your meal to cheese). The Purité line aims to offer wines with balanced acid and clean fruit flavors, devoid of any secondary malolactic fermentation or sur lie aging, that should work perfect with your midweek dinner. Initially, a Viognier and Chardonnay are available, with a Dry Riesling planned for the near future.
I had a chance to try the inaugural offerings last month with Tim Snider of Fess Parker and Epiphany Cellars at Charles Communications in San Francisco. The following are my notes from that tasting.
2006 Purité Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills, CA
Production: 403 Cases
Notes: This light straw colored offering exhibits a touch of lemon grass and pear on the palate. The acid is bright and crisp with more lemon zest on the medium length finish. It’s a nice wine and you find that Chardonnay in this capacity closely resembles Sauvignon Blanc.
Score: B (84-86 points)
2006 Purité Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Production: 103 Cases
Notes: Immediately on the nose is a pleasant floral note, with hints of lychee and passion fruit, a nice bright mouthfeel but a bit hot towards the back of the palate and on the finish from the high alcohol. Still, a nice first effort that really showcases what Viognier is capable of in this more naked form.
Score: B/B+ (86-88 points)
Note: Although not pictured, these wines are sealed with a Stelvin screw cap, bravo!