An odd but not unpleasant earthy-chalky note pops up first in the aroma of this pale, slightly brassy straw-color wine on the first sniff, perhaps a signal of time spent on the “lees” of yeast after fermentation. It soon gives way to delicate floral notes and a whiff of stone fruit. Overall the aroma is complex and interesting, but more delicate than powerful. Peach and apricot become a bit more evident along with palate-cleansing acidity in the fresh, tart and dry flavor, but it’s subtle minerality that hangs on in a very long, clean finish. Just 12.5 percent alcohol in a well-balanced Rhône blend of 40% Clairette, 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Grenache Blanc and 10% Ugni Blanc. U.S. importer: Hand Picked Selections Inc., Warrenton, Va. (Sept. 9, 2016)
FOOD MATCH: Its fresh, acidic flavor makes it a natural with mild, firm-fleshed fish, but it should be a versatile match with poultry or pork, cheese or egg dishes. It was fine with a quick green bean and egg skillet dinner with onions, garlic and a touch of harissa Ethiopian spice.
WHEN TO DRINK: I don’t see it as a long-term ager, but there’s no rush to drink it up over the next year or three.
This excellent white is well worth the upper-teens price I paid locally, but shop around, as Wine-Searcher.com shows a $16 U.S. average retail price.
WEB LINK Here’s an importer’s information page on Cuvée Lône. (Take note that it incorrectly describes the wine’s appellation as Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe. That’s incorrect and potentially misleading. The vineyard, as the label correctly discloses, is in the Côtes-du-Rhône;. It’s a few miles from Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, and the price tag reflects the difference.
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