Monday, June 16, 2014

Luke Donald Collection 2010 Viognier Sanford & Benedict Vineyard

Post Conference Wine 006First, I must confess, I have never heard of Luke Donald before. After I purchased this bottle (as part of a mystery half-case) I learned that he is a professional golfer and at one point in 2011 was ranked number one.

I’m a sports fanatic, but golf is one of the rare sports I just don’t care about. But I know that successful golfers can sometimes earn the scratch that results in successful winemaking – Greg Norman and Ernie Ells are examples.

Of more importance to me was the Viognier grape variety and the premier AVA of Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. That’s a combination for which I’d gladly put on plaid pants and become a golf fan.

Viognier is a delicate grape with floral notes and flavors of apricot and pears. It is a low yielding grape and is susceptible to disease, so it is a delicious surprise to find a bottle.

The LDC Viognier is a single vineyard wine and the grapes are whole cluster pressed, which imparts greater character and body. The wine is 100% Viognier and is fermented in stainless steel and French oak. Here’s where Luke Donald hit it into the rough.

The fermenting of the Luke Donald Viognier is half in stainless steel and half in French oak for a month. Then the wine was barrel aged for 18 months. Whoa! You don’t age graceful white wines in oak for a year-and-a-half! It overpowers and masks the flavors.

We found the wine to be crisp with good fruit, but with a totally unnecessary and pervasive oakiness. He gets high marks for the grape and the wine region, but gets a double-bogey for oaking.

Rating: 2 of 5  Value: 2.5 of 5 based on $19 paid

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