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Wine of the week

Dappled sunlight.

Gewürztraminer is at its best when the grapes have been blessed with this kind of light, according to Nathan Kandler of Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards.

Kandler is the winegrower behind our wine-of-the-week winner - The Thomas Fogarty, 2012 Monterey County Gewurztraminer at $19.

This striking gewürztraminer, produced at the winery in Woodside, CA, is exotic with lovely spice notes, crisp acidity and complex flavors. It's layered with notes of bright fruit, ginger, jasmine and mineral.

“(Gewurztraminer) is a pain to farm, so the vineyard aspect is crucial,” Kandler said. “Keeping as much of the fruit on the vine from getting too much sun is a huge deal. We call it 'dappled' sunlight. If the bunches see too much sun they bleach out to a green color and you've lost a lot of the rose, ginger, jasmine and spice flavors that are so key.”

The most gratifying part of making a great gewürztraminer is winning people over who say they don't like the grape, Kandler said.

“There is a stereotypical inverted bell curve to gewürztraminer appreciation,” Kandler said. “People just getting into wine love it because it has loads of fruit and can be forward and obvious. Many wine aficionados lose interest because it sort of lacks the cult appeal, or 'critical' approval of grapes like chardonnay and riesling. Then there are people who have been around wine forever and have gotten over some of the pretension and just enjoy great wine.”

Kandler said you don't have to shoot for 100 points with every wine and sometimes something that's delicious and great with a meal is the perfect wine.

“This gewürztraminer,” he said, “is our embodiment of joy and fun, sort of a celebration of great simple things.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.

Scouting for the tastiest mixed whites

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week of mixed whites with a range of varietals, from gewürztraminer to chardonnay to sauvignon blanc. While the wines showed well across the board, our wine-of-the-week winner is the Thomas Fogarty, 2012 Monterey County Gewurztraminer at $19.

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