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A winning white wine and an Alsace festival


Springtime in a glass.

That's how co-vintner Deborah Cahn of Navarro describes our wine-of-the-week winner — the Navarro Vineyards, 2012 Edelzwicker, Anderson Valley Table Wine at $15.

"We are just starting to have paperwhites spring up in our yard, and the heady aromatics of Edelzwicker are like springtime in a glass," Cahn said. "Sometimes I think drinking Edelzwicker is like having a container of narcissus in my winter kitchen windowsill. It's a reminder that spring is just around the corner."

The white blend is one among hundreds that will be poured Saturday at the Alsace Festival Grand Tasting at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville (<a href="http://www.avwines.com" target="_blank">www.avwines.com</a>). The event will showcase a broad range of varietals that originated from Alsace, France.

The Navarro white is a blend of 53 percent pinot gris; 36 percent gew?rztraminer; 9 percent riesling and 2 percent muscat. It's a gorgeous, aromatic wine with fleshy fruit and a lush texture. It has layered flavors of honeysuckle, white peach and a hint of mineral, with a lingering finish. Best of all, it's a steal at $15.

"It's important to have wines that match every budget," Cahn said. "We work hard to always have a wine in a reasonable price range so that our customers have something to drink every day and not only save Navarro wines for special occasions."

Cahn said the winery chose the wines of Alsace because they're "intrinsic" to Navarro Vineyards' identity. "We choose to grow grapes in the Anderson Valley because we wanted to specialize in gew?rztraminer," she said. "No one was doing a good one in California in 1974. At the time, we picked the grapes of Alsace because we wanted to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a large pond of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay"

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

<strong>Wine of the Week: Scouting for the tastiest Alsace white wines</strong>

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week of Alsace white wines to get a peek at some of the bottlings that will be poured Saturday at the Alsace Festival Grand Tasting (<a href="http://www. avwines.com" target="_blank">www. avwines.com</a>). While it was an impressive flight across the board, our wine-of-the-week winner is the Navarro Vineyards, 2012 Edelzwicker, Anderson Valley Table Wine, at $15.

<em><strong>TOP PICK: Navarro Vineyards</strong></em>

<strong>Navarro Vineyards, 2012 Edelzwicker, Anderson Valley Table Wine,</strong> 13.4 percent alcohol, $15. **** A gorgeous, aromatic white with fleshy fruit and a lush texture. Layered flavors of honeysuckle, white peach and a hint of mineral. Lingering finish. Striking.

<em><strong>Other impressive wines:</strong></em>

<strong>Corazon, 2012 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer,</strong> 13.4 percent, $30. **** What makes this a standout is its dry, crisp acidity, its bright fruit and its layered flavors. Notes of white peach, nectarine and grapefruit. Lush texture. Impressive.

<strong>Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, 2012 Mendocino Ridge White Riesling,</strong> 12.6 percent, $18. **** This is a very complex riesling. Its range of flavors include mandarin, pear and mineral. It has lively fruit, and its balanced, with a lingering finish.

<strong>Breggo, 2010 Anderson Valley Riesling,</strong> 12.8 percent, $25 **** This layered riesling has layered flavors of honey, pear and mango. Great minerality. Racing acidity, yet balanced. Crisp finish. Nice length.

<strong>Husch, 2012 La Ribera, Mendocino Muscat Canelli,</strong> 11.5 percent, $17. *** 1/2 A rich, fragrant wine with lovely flavors. Layered notes of nectarine, white peach and apricot. Lush texture. Nice length. Knockout.

<strong>Handley, 2012 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer,</strong> 13.4 percent, $18. **** An exotic gew?rztraminer with good complexity. Aromas and flavors of honeydew melon, pineapple, honeysuckle and a hint of lemongrass. Bright acidity. Crisp finish. (Won top honors as The Press Democrat's wine-of-the-week winner last week.)