If the same old Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Grigio is getting you down, try something different.
Italian Vermentino, Argentina’s Torontos and Spain’s Macabeo are great whites with different flavor profiles. Grenache Blanc is the fourth-most-planted white wine grape in France and becoming more popular each year as a single varietal wine. It’s often used in traditional Rhone and Southern France blends. It’s also a great alternative to the usual suspects.
Tablas Creek, Paso Robles, has championed Rhone whites for years. Oregon’s Joe Dobbes has become a huge fan and terrific producer more recently.
“I was making a Rhone blend for one of my Southern Oregon customers,” Dobbes explained during a Chicago marketing event. “It was Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. Lo and behold, they had two tons of Grenache Blanc left over and said ‘Hey Joe, do you want it?’”
That’s been a few years ago, and now Dobbe’s Family Estate Grenache Blanc sells out each year. “I wanted to be first one to say let’s hang our hat on this grape. As a winemaker, I’m always trying to do something new and different, right? Oregon is known for Pinot Noir, and we have some beautiful wines in Southern Oregon. But the Grenache Blanc came along and I thought ‘what’s the risk for a couple of tons of grapes?
“I want rich, full-flavored varietal fruit in my whites. I started in Germany in 1985, and those white aromatics really helped formulate me. The Grenache Blanc is made “with no new barrels, no malolactic fermentation and no filtration. The wine has great clarity and great richness in the mouth.
“The quintessential wine has great mouth feel, specifically whites, and beautiful fruit with great acidity. I think this wine has all three.”
Dobbes looked at the landscape and saw Oregon winemakers selling Pinot Noir, most with a Pinot Gris but not many other choices. “I got tired of having to sell my Dobbes luxury label at a discount and thought we were going in the wrong direction. We decided to hang our hat a bit on Grenache Blanc, a specialty wine for a high-end retailer or restaurant. You’re not going to see this everywhere.”
The wine retails from Dobbes’ tasting room at $26.
The veteran winemaker acknowledged people are always looking for something different. “So we offer them some unique, fruity, esoteric whites. We’re also about Pinot Noir. Now Oregon winemakers are asking me where they can get Grenache Blanc, and I say … ‘well, you can’t.’”
Dobbes buys all of the Grenache Blanc available from the one producer who has six acres in Southern Oregon — the state’s entire production! Dobbes most popular label, “Wines by Joe,” is widely available.
It might be easier to find Grenache Blanc from a California producer; still there are only 159 acres in the country’s biggest wine-producing state. The wine is characterized by its crisp acidity and often hints of green apple, orange, peach and minerality.
Besides Dobbes and Tablas Creek, try a Domaine Virgile Joly Grenache Blanc widely available in the Midwest and East Coast. Price points range from mid-teens to mid-$20 for these dynamic white wines.
Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about value wine every other week for 22 Midwestern newspapers. Read his wine blog at: www.howardhewitt.net.
If the same old Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Grigio is getting you down, try something different.
- Valley Life
Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research
Famous people filled the Riviera Country Club, a scenic golf resort in affluent Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A city block away, Sunset Boulevard runs toward the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Monica Mountains overlook it all. Inside the Riviera, during a 2009 fundraising dinner, Terre Haute attorney Tony Tanoos found himself surrounded by a who’s who of celebrities — actors such as Ray Romano, Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle and others, and golfing greats like Gary Player, Johnny Miller and Rocco Mediate. Soon, the crowd of notables heard the words of main speaker Lisa Paulsen, the president of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
CHRIS DAVIES: Exercising with no ‘bells and whistles’
Recently at Fitness Solutions the joke has been “treadmills and cardio equipment are broken.” The truth is we don’t have any exercise machines that require electricity. This is for good reason.
MIKE LUNSFORD: The long goodbye to winter
I have no idea what the weather is to bring to us on the morning this story runs, but on the day I write most of it, the sun is shining, and we have just come off a weekend of pleasant warmth and cloudless skies.
GRAPE SENSE: News from the world’s wine regions can affect future prices
News from the world’s wine regions can affect even the average wine drinker. There is a lot going on, particularly in California, which can affect future wine prices.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: The easiest ham loaf I’ve ever made
I have been asked for a good ham loaf recipe. This is really good. It comes from a friend of mine in Morton, Ill. Eileen Knapp makes this for her kids and grandkids — we all enjoyed it.
ANNIVERSARY: March 2, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Morris
Making Waves: Woman devotes part of rural Vigo County home to museum on hairstyling
Some studies show that women spend more than $50,000 in a lifetime and more than one month of their entire life at a beauty salon, trying to get and keep their hair just the right style. How they have accomplished this through the ages has been a fascination for local hairstylist Brenda Ellis for more than 50 years.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: No need to knead dough much for these rolls
I know we all like homemade bread. These rolls are great.
When we used to have Christmas with Gene’s family, his uncle Bob Beard’s daughter made these Oatmeal Rolls.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: We can help save the manatees, right here in the heartland
The year 2013 was the deadliest on record for manatees with about 829 reported deaths. This was a major jump from the 392 in 2012 and the record of 766 in 2010. While the cold weather played a role, one major attributing factor has been toxic red tide events caused by algal blooms.
Rockville Library to dedicate genealogy collection March 8
The genealogy collection at the Rockville Public Library will be named for Alberta T. Butler in a celebration at 1 p.m. on March 8. Butler was a longtime board member of the library, member of the Parke County Historical Society and member of the Wabash Valley Genealogical Society. She died July 24, 2013.
Planning Your Farm’s Future program March 4
As commercial farms grow in size and business risk becomes more magnified, farm families are thinking more and more about how the family farm will operate in future years, as well as who will provide management and who will control farm assets.
Engagement listings: Feb. 23, 2014
Wedding listing: Feb. 23, 2014
Anniversary listing: Feb. 23, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Richey
Brenda Ellis devotes part of her rural Vigo County home to a museum on hairstyling. See story by Marjorie Hopkins and more photos by Jim Avelis in Sunday's Valley Life and on tribstar.com.
Heaven on Earth: Writer gets lost — both figuratively and literally — at Acadia National Park
Editor’s Note: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of a day hiking the Atlantic shoreline and the trails of Maine’s Acadia National Park.
GRAPE SENSE: The rare but exciting 100 percent Sagrantino wine
It’s easy to buy a big, expensive California Cabernet, red Bordeaux or Oregon Pinot Noir for an intimate dinner party or special gift. But to really surprise a serious wine lover or yourself, why not try something really different?
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A nutritious, delicious after-school snack
We are always looking for something good and easy to give to the kids when they get home from school. I know I always was.
When grandkids came along they would help me make all kinds of bars. This recipe is from Pam from Sullivan Extension.
Women’s Only Wellness Weekend coming up April 4-6
The inaugural Women’s Only Wellness Weekend at Turkey Run State Park this spring offers a chance for women to hike beautiful trails, enjoy the food and accommodations of the Turkey Run Inn, and participate in workshops ranging from photography to bird-watching to wine tasting.
Anniversary listings: Feb. 16, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Blacketer
Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Buck
Rock of Ages: Hulman Center stage has been entertaining crowds since 1974
As the stage lights came on, Sam Wellington and his cohorts gazed out at an audience of 8,060 Midwesterners.
The scene was familiar for him. Wellington and his country music quartet, The Four Guys, opened shows night after night for fellow RCA Records artists Ronnie Millsap and headliner Charley Pride on tours across North America.
CANDLES to show film on ‘British Schindler’
The film, “Nicky’s Family,” will be shown at 5:30 pm. on Feb. 20 in the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center at 1532 S. Third St. Admission is free. Pizza will be served at 5 p.m.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A quick pork chop recipe to throw in the oven
At this time of year we need something quick. We go to work and we want to make something for our loved ones.
You can make this for two, four, six or however many loved ones you may have.
Chris Davies: Educators take Fitness Challenge
Beginning in 2014 many made New Year’s resolutions. Ten area educators took a challenge that is having them shed weight, get fit and raise money for two great organizations.
Wearing a Legacy: Inspired by Debs, a variety of places and things beyond Terre Haute — from a town to beers — bear his name
A town and a school. Two styles of beer. A radio station, a street, a township, and a house for college students. Even a parade.
Any of those places or things named in honor of legendary labor and social activist Eugene V. Debs could theoretically exist in Terre Haute. Alas, none do.
GRAPE SENSE: Lenore Syrah, possibly the best value wine I’ve tasted in years
The past seven years this column has focused mostly on great wines under $20 that you won’t find on the grocery shelf. Every time it seems like the list is exhausted, another wine comes along to make even the wine cynic say ‘wow!’
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: An Italian chicken recipe that’s easy to make
This recipe comes from one of my readers who wanted to remain anonymous. Their grandparents made this chicken all the time, especially when family or friends dropped by their home.
Flowing forward: As Riverscape leader retires, he sees great things ahead for the Wabash River
An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
The walls of that room and others inside Mutchner’s scenic eastside home offer glimpses of his interests, from auto racing to basketball to political history. The famous picture of a triumphant Truman, hoisting an erroneous “Dewey Defeats Truman” Chicago Tribune headline, rests neatly framed alongside a 1952 campaign button and an autographed notecard from the former president.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Bird feeder ignites passion for feathered friends in 15-year-old
In a dimly lit room, avid bird watchers gather for the annual Wabash Valley Audubon Society Photo Night at the Vigo County Public Library. One by one, presenters flipped through their photos to show off unique birds they saw throughout the year. When a presenter is stumped on the identification of a bird they photographed, the crowd works together to identify the bird. One photo in particular took these veteran birders longer than average to call out the identification.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A really good chocolate chip cake recipe
Last September, I bought two cookbooks from Dunlap Methodist Church, one for me and one for my grandson, Tyler, who wants to be a chef. I told him the best cookbooks are ones from churches and different organizations. They have been tried.
- More Valley Life Headlines
- Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research