Monday, May 22, 2017

From Corsica To California–Exploring New Locations Wine

Dave Phinney’s line of Locations wine have a simple concept: to make the best possible wine from a given country or location. We explore two new Locations.

They Both Start With “C”

We’ve become fans of the Locations wine produced by Dave Phinney. He’s taken a gargantuan task – capturing grapes from the best locations across a given country or region – and managed to bottle it. In order to bring his vision into reality, he had to contend with wine regulations which often constrain grape varieties, yields and production methods in order to deliver a wine with a taste specific to that sometimes tiny appellation. His goal was to travel throughout a country like France and find growers with great old vines to create a wine representative of the whole nation.

So, in order to pursue his winemaking freedom, he broke the rules and thousands of years of history and tradition. We’re glad he did.

The wines from Italy, France and Spain were featured in a recent virtual tasting with Phinney. These three blends represent the core of the Locations lines. Each is outstanding – but the Spanish red, a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Monastrell and Cariñena is our favorite by a nose.

We recently popped up a pair of Locations white wines: one from Corsica and the other from California.

Charting A Mediterranean Corse

Locations Corse wine is distinctive in more than one way. It is the only wine in the Locations line that doesn’t feature the oval “bumper sticker” with an abbreviation of the wine region or country. Instead, the arresting label features a high contrast image of the shepherd's knife commonly found around the island of Corsica.

Corsica is a large Mediterranean island southwest of Italy. Vineyards are on steep, hillside slopes comprised of granite and red clay soils. Grapes benefit from the maritime climate and mountain influences. Corse is 100% Vermentino, the main white grape of the island.

This was a winner from the time we popped the cork. Corse is stainless steel fermented, which preserves the fresh, light flavors. This is a lively wine with honeysuckle and lemon notes. Minerality and a hint of acidity make this an ideal white for a hot summer afternoon or to accompany seafood.

We’re constantly on the lookout for interesting white wines and Corse chopped the competition quite nicely. The $18.99 SRP goes down smoothly too.

Going To California In My Mind

This is the inaugural release of the Locations California white. Uncorking it, I wasn’t sure what to expect but we loved the California red. Since the blend is to represent the entire state of California, I expected Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. We were pleased to see CA also includes Viognier and Roussane. The percentages of the different grapes isn’t revealed – and we think those percentages make all the difference.

The grapes are sourced from premier vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. If you look at the origins of these four grapes, you’ll find one from Burgundy, one from Bordeaux and two from Rhone. So, these are not natural blending partners. For us, that comes across in the final product.

Independently, we love each of the component grapes. Together they lack harmony in this particular blend. CA has 14.5% alcohol and comes across a bit jarring on the palate. The wine seems brassy and less enjoyable than a single varietal wine – like a Viognier or Chardonnay -- might be.

It might just be a matter of our personal preference, but where Corse struck the bull’s eye, CA white missed the mark. We love the Locations concept and the next vintage of CA white may have us singing its praise. At, $19.99 you can afford to pick up a bottle and judge for yourself.

Full Disclosure – This wine was received as a marketing sample.

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