Michael David wines make Lodi, CA proud
A couple of the things I look out for when I sample wines that I might feature in this column are wide appeal and nationwide availability. A number of years ago, someone poured me a glass of Seven Deadly Zins. That was my first experience with the Michael David wines. One of the things that struck me was that it would please a wide array of people. Since that time I've gone on to have quite a few of their offerings. Their Earthquake Petite Syrah is one of my favorites, year to year. A couple of things always strike me about their wines. They tend to be big, bold, full-throttle offerings, loaded with flavor and indicative of the Lodi region where the fruit is predominately sourced. Also, I've found their wines to be pretty consistent from vintage to vintage. They offer wines featuring varietal character and are generally really nice values. This time out I'll look at three current releases that really deliver.
First up is the Michael David 2009 Incognito White Blend. This wine is a blend of Viognier (58 percent), Chardonnay (19 percent), Malvasia Bianca (9 percent), Roussanne (7 percent), Sauvignon Blanc (4 percent) and Symphony (3 percent). This offering saw no time in oak, and was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to retain freshness. This wine was bottled in June 2010 and has a suggested retail price of $18.
Aromas of lychee, hazelnut, kiwi and melon simply explode from the nose of this white blend. White peach and nectarine flavors are prominent throughout the palate. Apricot flavors, tinged by honey, play an important role as well, along with a veritable cornucopia of unctuous stone and tropical fruit flavors. Lemon ice and continued peach characteristics are strong forces through the exciting finish, along with white pepper. This wine has solid acidity. Incognito White could easily be paired with lighter foods, but it will work particularly well served alone as an aperitif or welcome wine. It's packed full of gorgeous flavors that will keep everyone coming back for a second glass (and maybe a third too), so if you serve this wine make sure to have plenty on hand.
Next up is the Michael David 2008 Incognito Red Blend. This wine is composed of Syrah (21 percent), Carignan (18 percent), Cinsault (18 percent), Tannat (13 percent), Souzou (11 percent), Cabernet Franc (10 percent), Mourvèdre (6 percent) and Petite Syrah (3 percent). About 12 percent of this wine was aged in French oak for 21 months, while the remainder was aged on French oak for 19 months. It has a suggested retail price of $18.
Eucalyptus and berry aromas are prominent in the nose of this wine, along with a soft but tangible hint of tobacco leaf. Lush, soft and approachable red fruit flavors dominate the palate. Strawberry and raspberry star, and hints of black fruit -- in the form of plum and blackberry -- are present as well. Everything is underscored by a significant spice component which punctuates the fruit flavors and adds complexity and bite. An avalanche of cherry (both red and black) emerges in the finish, which also shows off clove spice in droves. As is the case with the Michael David wines, this is a full-flavored, fruit-forward effort. However, unlike lesser releases from the Lodi region, this wine is still balanced and proportionate.
Finally we have the Michael David 2008 Sixth Sense Syrah. This wine is mostly Syrah with small amounts of Petite Syrah and Petit Verdot blended in. It was aged more than 20 months in French oak barrels and has a suggested retail price of $16.
Spice aromas are interlaced with heady dark fruits in the seductive nose of this 2008 Syrah. The palate is rich, layered, and loaded with dark fruit, spice, smoke and earth. Plum, cassis and black raspberry are of particular note. Sweet dark cocoa, brown sugar, sour cherry and black pepper all emerge on the finish, which shows off impressive length for a Syrah with a modest $16 price tag. This wine definitely shows off its roots as a New World wine, as its flavors are robust, expressive and downright lusty. This would be a great choice to pair with almost anything from your grill.
Taken as a whole, the Michael David family of wines offers a broad spectrum of releases that are approachable in both taste and budget. There is a common thread here: these are full-flavored wines and not aimed at those looking for something mellow. However, as I've mentioned, they're also not over-the-top or out-of-proportion. There is complexity and depth here that will appeal to those looking for more than that initial burst of flavor. These three wines, as well as the other lines they offer, represent solid values in their respective categories. Purchase any of the Michael David wines with the confidence that if you enjoy one of their offerings, many of the others will likely appeal to you as well.