For most of us wine enthusiasts we get a thrill at the mention of a newly released wine, so upon hearing about Lion Ranch Vineyards and Winery’s newly released viognier, my weekend’s top priority was making a visit to their winery.
Past the lion head fountain leading to the winery’s open-air tasting pavilion, I spotted a vendor selling exotic jewelry and heard the soothing sounds of a string duet.
Mike Braxton, very friendly and knowledgable, was on hand to pour the tastings that day. The newly released 2016 Estate Viognier ($25) was everything I hoped for. Made from 100 percent viognier grapes using two different grape clones, the intoxicating aromatics reminded me of a garden of sweet peas. For a moment, I wondered if I could just skip the rest of the tasting menu; only wanting to sip and savor this wine.
Noticing my glass was empty, Mike poured me the next wine on the menu, the 2014 Lion’s Share ($23). Always a proprietary blend of five varietals, this is the first year that picpoul blanc has been added; giving the wine a lip-smacking sourness.
The third pour, the Lioness 2016 Rose ($24), made in the Provence style, is an outstanding first effort for the winery. A 50/50 blend of grenache and mourvedre, it is a pale, rose gold color; bursting with flavors that hit all areas of the tongue. Sip this gem alone or with any warm-weather entrée.