Friday, July 27, 2012

Finca La Linda 2011 Viognier

Producer: Finca La Linda (by Luigi Bosca)
Varietal: Viognier
Region: Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
Vintage: 2011
Tasted: July 25, 2012
ABV: 12.8%

The Mendoza region of Argentina is high up in the Andes Mountains, about 1,000 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Funny, then, that the undercurrent of taste of this viognier by Finca La Linda, in Luján de Cuyo, is a spot of saltiness.

It opens with a great deal of pungency. I mean that literally: As I first opened the bottle, I was immediately treated to a huge whiff of the stuff. The nose has the crispness of a fresh green apple, and its scent, too, along with notes of pear and ginger. It is at the first sip of this wine that the sensation of salt comes through. It also has a taste of fruit to it, but not such that it is sweet. In The Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil describes viognier as having "musky fruit" flavors; that sounds about right. Specifically, in this case one can taste lychee and some grape juice (i.e. white concord, such as what might come in a carton). The saltiness lasts through the finish, which also includes a note of citrus.

The texture of this viognier is medium edging up on the side of strong. It has some structure, but it is not one of those whites that takes it upon itself to vigorously rearrange one’s palate until the mouth is sufficiently deformed to fit into the wine’s unbending framework.

After twenty minutes of aerating, this viognier does not change much other than in the nose. Its aroma acquires a huge rush of kumquat. Also, the structure mellows out just a little.

Perhaps the best part about this wine is its appearance. The first word that came to mind when I looked was "limpid", a word that would not go away easily as I tried to think of others. Slightly champagne colored in hue, this viognier has a crystal clarity unlike any other wine I have ever seen. Were it not for the tint, Evian or Poland Spring could do no better than this wine in their commercials to visually demonstrate purity, freshness, and perfection in crisp liquid form. I was nearly mesmerized just looking into the glass.

I was not, unfortunately, even close to mesmerized by actually drinking the wine. I did imagine myself dining on a plate of scallops as soon as I tasted it; indeed, it would probably pair well with most seafood dishes. But the salty tones make the rest of the flavors come on harsh. A viognier’s fruitiness, however "musky", should still come through brighter and fresher than what Finca La Linda has to offer from 2011.

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