PICK of the RACK: Porter Creek Vineyards | Viognier | Timbervine Ranch | Russian River Valley AVA | Sonoma County | California | 2011 | $36 | 90 pts

Porter Creek 3Aromas:  aromatic; honeysuckle; dried apricots; marzipan
Character:  dry; full-bodied; honeyed & spicy; velvety & viscous; zingy acids
Flavors:  nectarine; quince; candied ginger & orange peel; ripe banana; dusting of white pepper
Food Pairing:  cheese plate; crispy oriental dishes; foie gras

The father and son owner/winemaking team at Porter Creek Vineyards in the Russian River Valley specialize in crafting single vineyard Rhone and Burgundian varietal wines, along with an old vine Zinfandel, that resonate with elegance and power in equal parts.  Their 2011 Viognier is a case in point — a wine of both finesse and heft that offers aromas that are at once floral, fruity, and nutty; followed by flavors of stone fruit, candied ginger, citrus rind, and banana, with a tangy, peppery bite on the finish.  It’s a wine of many counterpoints that harmonize quite beautifully on the palate — floral and fruity, honeyed and spicy — with mouth-watering acidity, a velvety texture, and long, lush finish.  The overall effect is heady, exotic, and deeply satisfying.  It is delicious on its own as an apéritif, and would pair well with an assortment of cheeses, crispy oriental fare, or perhaps most elegantly, foie gras (as an alternative to traditional Sauternes).

Availability:  Porter Creek is a small producer, bottling only several hundred cases of each of its varietal wines — including the Viognier — in any given year.  They do have limited national distribution, so ask your favorite wine merchant about their wines or visit http://www.portercreekvineyards.com/pages/contact_distribution.html for a distributor in your area.  For more information on purchasing this Viognier or anyPorter Creek Tasting Room of Porter Creek’s other selections directly from the winery, visit them virtually at www.portercreekvineyards.com,          e-mail them at  info@portercreekvineyards.com, or call 707-433-6321.  And next time you find yourself in the Russian River Valley, visit Porter Creek’s quaint tasting room on Westside Road southwest of Healdsburg.

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