Winery/Vineyard: Miramonte Winery
Product/Varietal: White Rhône-style Blend – 55% Roussanne + 35% Grenache Blanc + 10% Viognier
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Reinhard Schlassa
4.0 out of 5 stars on Vivino (all vintages).
How They Describe It
What We Taste
Fresh baked banana bread | butter toffee | clove | soft tangerine | vanilla | soft soothing finish
What We Made
How We Serve
Nice and cool at about 50 degrees. That’s roughly 20-25 minutes in your refrigerator. When in doubt, chill it longer. You can always bring it up to temp.
How I Describe It
The color on the Miramonte 2018 Four Torch Blanc is fairly pale. Its hue, though, is somewhere between the kind of lemony-yellow you’d expect from a Sauvignon Blanc and the golden color of an oak-aged Chardonnay. This isn’t surprising, since the 2018 Four Torch Blanc was, in fact, oak-aged.
Simply swirling the glass of Miramonte 2018 Four Torch Blanc exposes pineapple, peach, and green apple. Stone fruit aromas expand from the goblet to reveal nectarine and apricot. Scents of toasted vanilla and birthday cake likely stem from oak and yeast. Tropical fruits include mango undertones. In addition, lime and lemon zest, along with honeysuckle and wildflowers, integrate into the bouquet.
On the palate, lime pith, sour apple, and tart pineapple appear up front. Pastry and banana crème harmonize with crisp nectarine, lemon juice, and lychee on the mid-palate. A hint of banana, honeydew melon, and grapefruit rounds out the wine’s flavors.
The Miramonte 2018 Four Torch Blanc is dry, with medium alcohol (13.2% ABV). With time in oak mainly designed to smooth out the flavors and add body, tannins remain medium-minus. The wine is high in acid, lending a crispness which balances out the body. Speaking of which, the wine’s body is medium-plus. Flavor intensity is medium. And the finish is medium-plus.
Why is This Wine Special?
There are a lot of features in the Miramonte 2018 Four Torch Blanc which are both hard to find and deserve praise.
First, let’s talk about the varietals. The bulk of white wine culture today seems to focus steadfastly on three varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. While these are perfectly good grapes, there are literally hundreds of white varietals, each with their own unique characteristics.
Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier are all white varietals which hail originally from the Rhône region, in southeastern France. Each alone offer up remarkably interesting flavors and textures which I’d recommend to any intrepid oenophile. But, when blended, the varietals play off one another, creating entirely new flavor and aroma medleys.
Interestingly, all three varietals are also known for being friendly toward oak-aging.
Which brings up the second feature: the 2018 Four Torch Blanc’s oak. Miramonte’s 2018 Four Torch Blanc was aged in a 50/50 combination of oak and steel. Of the oaked portion, 30% aged in neutral (i.e., previously used) puncheons, and the other 20% spent time in new oak.
Particularly with mid-priced New World white wines, our choice for oak aging is somewhat limited. We either get no oak, with wines entirely focused on fruit and acid; or we get a ton of oak (often along with MLF), and the wine tastes like it was marinated in clarified butter. Of course, this is hyperbole, but it’s a challenge to find New World white wines which use oak to create a nicely rounded fuller body. And it’s a testament to the winemaker’s care when that fuller body is still balanced with refreshing acidity.
Thankfully, we have Miramonte winemaker Reinhard Schlassa to thank for doing exactly that.
When & How I Would Drink It
Miramonte Winery makes some delicious lighter white wines. But white and full-bodied — what do you do with that? Actually, a lot.
First, the toastiness from the oak makes the Miramonte 2018 Four Torch Blanc an ideal wine to pair with dinners and heartier lunches. The additional body provides some balance with foods like veal, pork, turkey and chicken, and heavier fish like red snapper. You also wouldn’t be going rogue with spiced butter marinades and sautées.
I would, however, stay away from foods with predominantly umami flavors, like sushi, sharp cheddars, or brie cheese. Umami sometimes brings out bitter flavors in tannic wines — particularly whites, in my experience — which can take away from the experience. If pairing with cheeses, feta, mild cheddar, and Neufchatel would do great instead.
Like most whites, chilling is good. There’s some great flavor and aroma layering in the 2018 Four Torch Blanc, so take some time to enjoy the complexity!
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $41.00 ($32.80 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 650 cases
Have you tried the Miramonte 2018 Four Torch Blanc? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.