Polka Dot Riesling 2006

Polka Dot RieslingPrice: $8
Maker: Imported by E. & J. Gallo from Pfalz, Germana
Varietal: Riesling
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, screw cap
Alcohol: 10.5%
Our Rating: 8 out of 10

With its fun, informal label, Polka Dot Riesling 2006 is clearly aimed at a casual, unpretentious crowd. The wine itself reflects that attitude. This Riesling has a flowery nose with some peach in it. The flavor is sweet for this varietal, with pear, peach, and a hint of sweet pink grapefruit. It’s a pleasant, sweet wine that would go well with spicy ethnic cuisine. The other day I had a dish called simply “spicy catfish” in a Thai restaurant, and this would have paired nicely with it.

Although it’s not indicated anywhere on the label, according to Wine Business Monthly, Polka Dot Riesling is an import of E & J Gallo Winery. This wine has received a fair amount of attention in the blogosphere. For starters, we found the great illustration you see here that was created by photographer Elisa Henry. Back to the wine itself, Wineography found it “tasty” and “in keeping with its label aesthetic; it seems frivolous and fun, perfect for swilling at girly get-togethers and never to be taken too seriously. It almost tastes like California Pinot Grigio to me…” SeeGinaBlog.com tried it at the St. Louis Wine Festival and liked it. 1700 Miles of Cooking tried Polka Dot Riesling as part of a bigger group of wines, but it didn’t make the favorites list. Greedy Gretchen thinks it’s a “very good choice” when her favorite Bloom Riesling isn’t available.

Alice White Lexia 2006

Alice White LexiaPrice: $2
Maker: Alice White, Woodbridge, California
Varietal: Lexia
Packaging: 175 ml bottle, screw cap
Alcohol: 10%
Our Rating: 8 out of 10

We picked up Alice White Lexia 2006 in one of the increasingly popular 175ml bottles that one finds in four packs or even in dump bins in supermarkets. It’s a convenient package for solo wine drinkers who find it difficult to finish a whole bottle before it starts to decline, and handy for situations where people can’t agree on the same wine. This Lexia (another name for Muscat of Alexandria) comes from South Eastern Australia and has aromas of peach and pineapple, with floral overtones. The fruitiness continues in the flavor, with sweet pineapple, melon, and apricot notes. There’s a hint of acidity in the finish, but a bit more would have added some welcome crispness. We paired Alice White Lexia with spicy Hunan chicken, and the combination worked nicely. If your taste runs to a sweet wine with tropical fruit flavors, you could do a lot worse.

Bloggers have mixed opinions on Alice White Lexia. Robert and Marjorie thought it like “a viognier with self-esteem problems” and found it “inoffensive but unfulfilling.” The Vinicode bought it by mistake, but loved the nose and found it a “sweet surprise.” Lyndon at Words Less Spoken expected a dry wine, but found its sweet nature refreshing for hot weather drinking. Chloe, meanwhile, compared Alice White Lexia to “a mixture of Chanel no 5 and pears” and wasn’t keen on the wine’s minimal alcohol content. The Alice White reviews page lists some favorable press reaction to their Lexia.

Corbett Canyon Chardonnay 2005

Corbett Canyon BoxPrice: $9
Maker: Corbett Canyon Vineyards
Varietal: Chardonnay
Packaging: 3 liter box, twist spigot
Alcohol: 12.5%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Corbett Canyon Chardonnay 2005 was a favorite in Wine Blogging Wednesday #31. Despite its modest price – ounce for ounce, it’s cheaper than Two Buck Chuck from Charles Shaw except in California (where Two Buck Chuck really costs $2 a bottle) – Citizen Wine’s blind tasting event picked the Corbett Canyon Chardonnay as one of the best whites. We’re not big Chardonnay drinkers, but we finally decided to sample this wine. The nose wasn’t overwhelming, but had cut grass and tart apple notes. On the palate, this wine was crisp and refreshing, with Granny Smith apple and mild pear notes leading into a slightly acidic finish.

Corbett Canyon may not be the finest or most complex Chardonnay available, but for under $10 for a 3-liter cask it’s a steal. It’s fine for party use or for glass-a-day drinkers who can’t put much of a dent in a 750 ml bottle and hate to see wine spoil. I suppose the fact that a cheap Chardonnay can be fairly decent shouldn’t be much of a surprise after Charles Shaw Chardonnay took top honors at the California State Fair wine competition.

Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay Best in California

In a decision that will surely make Fred Franzia grin and every other California winemaker cringe, Charles Shaw Chardonnay was judged to the the best example of that varietal from California:

The Charles Shaw 2005 California chardonnay (yes, the $1.99 “Two Buck Chuck” made by Bronco Wine Company sold at Trader Joe’s) was judged Best Chardonnay from California at California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

The chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of Best of California and Best of Class.

“Since we judge all wines totally by variety without different brackets for price, this double-gold achievement by the Bronco winemakers is astounding,” said G.M. Pucilowski, chief judge and director of the competition. [From Napa Valley Register]

We liked the Charles Shaw Chardonnay when we tasted it, though we didn’t quite score it as our best Chardonnay ever. We did suggest that it could be passed off as a much more expensive wine, and apparently the California judges reached the same conclusion.

Wine Tasting at WineStyles

I was in Chicago on business, and stumbled across a WineStyles store in Woodridge, IL. Through a stroke of luck, I picked the day of a wine tasting to stop in. Luck o’ the Irish, I guess… I tried a few wines:

Chateau de Paraza hails fom Languedoc, France, and was a very light wine that was well-balanced and, despite its light nature, had some nice fruit and spice. As the first wine tasted, it was great – I almost bought a bottle. After sampling some bigger reds and retasting this wine, it seemed to have lost some of its appeal. I think it would be a nice red when you don’t want to overwhelm a mild food pairing.

Maxwell Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. This Cab had a great aroma with berry and vanilla notes, and a big, bold flavor. On the palate, there were cherry, blackberry and oak notes. Despite decanting, though, the wine was a bit tannic in its finish. Still, it had a lot of flavor – perhaps a bit more air would have evened it out.

Liberty School Syrah 2004. This was a bonus wine not on the tasting list, and it wasn’t bad at all. We found blackberries and anise in the nose, and more berries and licorice on the palate. A pleasant Syrah.

Rudulf Muller Riesling. This seemed like quite a sweet Riesling, with peach, pear, and grapefruit flavors. Surprisingly, the sweetess wasn’t cloying – the finish was quite clean.

Nettare Moscato D’Asti. I’m not a huge fan of sweet, sparkling wines, and this sweet sparkler was pleasant but failed to excite.

This was my first visit to a WineStyle shop, and it was quite nice. It’s a franchise, and there are more than 150 locations around the U.S. This store was located in an upscale retail center, and the store featured faux cave-like nooks to hold the wine bottles. The staff seemed knowledgeable enough, and when I first looked in one of the owners was manning the counter. The most impressive thing to me was the volume of wine that seemed to be going out the door, at least in part driven by a 6 for $60 special on wines that normally sold for well over $10. There also was a wine club that seemed to be popular. In the half hour that I was there, a lot of wine was sold.

Killer Juice Chardonnay 2005

Price: $18
Maker: Killer Juice Vineyards, Ripon, California
Variety: Chardonnay
Packaging: 3-liter box
Alcohol: 13.5%
Our Rating: 9 out of 10

Killer Juice Chardonnay 2005 is, along with Angel Juice Pinot Grigio, one of the two boxed white wines marketed by Underdog Wine Merchants. The two names are surprisingly appropriate, as the two whites are practically polar opposites. While Angel Juice is a light, barely there wine, Killer Juice Chardonnay is big, rich, and creamy. The nose is spice and tropical fruit. The flavor is peach, pineapple, and mango, with some oak, spice, and light acidity in the finish. The finish lingers, but is clean and tangy. This chard is almost syrupy in texture.

Chardonnay isn’t our favorite varietal, but we liked Killer Juice Chardonnay 2005 a lot. This is one of the most pleasant Chardonnays we’ve tasted recently, whether in box or bottle. Unlike some California Chardonnays, the Killer Juice is neither overly dry nor overly oaky, and that makes it very appealing.

Kosher Wines

One category that we’ve never looked at specifically is that of kosher wines. Perhaps we’ve been overlooking a good thing, at least according to Tastings: Top Kosher Wines in the Times Herald-Record, quoting wine critic David Rogov:

“As recently as a decade ago, had anyone asked me to compile a list of 50 world-class kosher wines, I would have smiled politely and tried hard not to start giggling,” he says. “Today, with fine kosher wines becoming increasingly available, it is becoming rapidly apparent that there is no contradiction whatever between the laws of kashrut and the production of truly excellent wines.”

Rogov’s top value picks for kosher red wines were,

1. Galil Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, Israel, 2005. 89 points. Medium- to full-bodied, with near-sweet tannins and plum and berry fruits, spices and a tantalizing overlay of mushrooms. ($13)
2. Dalton, Shiraz, Reserve, Israel, 2004. 88 points. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins and moderate smoky oak, highlighting aromas and flavors of plums, currants and berries. ($12)
3. Baron Philippe, Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux, France, 2005. 87 points. Garnet toward purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins integrating well. Light spicy wood highlights blackberry and currant fruits. ($11)”

It looks like the best overall were kosher dessert wines:

1. Chateau Guiraud, Sauternes, France, 2001 (kosher edition). 95 points. Deep golden yellow, with a creamy texture and herbal sweetness. On the nose and palate, honeyed peaches, apples and citrus matched nicely by generous spiciness. ($80)

2. Yarden, Noble Semillon Botrytis, Israel, 2004. 92 points. Golden in color, concentrated and balanced. Shows dried apricots, orange peel, toasty oak and tropical fruits along with deep honeyed spices. ($34)

3. Langer, Tokaji, Aszu, Hungary, 1998. 91 points. On the nose and palate, dried summer fruits, citrus peel and oriental spices, matched by fine acidity to balance the generous sweetness. Long and elegant. ($55)”

Check out the full article for more kosher wine ideas just in time for Passover. We wandered around the blogosphere a bit, and found quite a few recent posts on the topic. The Kosher Blog commented in The Annual WSJ Kosher Wine Column that the column was mostly a rehash of previous years’ efforts. JSpot.org has a lengthy philosophical discussion of the topic in Reform Movement: Drunk on kosher wine? In Kosher Wine, Not Like It Used To Be! the Wine Store Blog points out that kosher wines are no longer “very sweet, or painfully dry” but come in a range of varietals.

Wine Tasting Evening

Just had a chance to taste some interesting wines at a local tasting, and I thought I’d share some fragmentary notes:

Kunde Sauvignon Blanc 2005. Melon and peach notes, slightly acidic finish.
Frei Brothers Chardonnay 2005. Not your usual Chardonnay. Strong vanilla flavors, with a moderately astringent finish. Definitely not an over-oaked chard.
Bridlewood Viognier 2005. Another quite different selection. Tropical notes, not too dry, and clean on the palate.
MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir 2005 (Sonoma Coast). I found this to be an unusually pleasant Pinot Noir – it offered big, bold plum, berry, and cherry notes, and a smooth finish. I tend to complain that some Pinot Noirs are a bit thin (or subtle, if you prefer), but this one is neither thin nor subtle. Recommended.
Gloria Ferrer Carneros Merlot 2002. Strong berry nose with some woody/leather notes, big rounded flavor featuring a great balance of blackberry and cherry, oak, and spice leading into a long finish. This was a big, well balanced Merlot, and my favorite of the evening.
Bridlewood Syrah 2004 (Central Coast). A nice, well-balanced Syrah with blackberry, oak, and black pepper flavors.
Frei Brothers Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We finished with this rich cab. Lots of dark berry and oak complexity, with a long finish. Highly drinkable.

The big winner for me was the Gloria Ferrer Carneros Merlot; I liked the Frei Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon and the MacMurray Ranch Merlot quite a bit, too. This was quite an unusual tasting – I liked all of the wines, and every red (including Red Rock Merlot, not described above) were wines that I’d buy.

WBW #31 – Tasting Roundup

Wine Blogging WednesdayWe’ve had a lot of really neat entries for Wine Blogging Wednesday #31, with the theme, “Box Wines & Non-Traditional Packaging.” This was an interesting challenge – some found it easy, while others had difficulty finding a wine that met the criteria but wasn’t the low-end plonk that has traditionally been the mainstay of boxed wine in the U.S. So, without further ado, we’ll start the summary – entries are listed in approximate order of arrival. (If I somehow missed your entry or have mangled your name or comments, please accept my apology and drop me an email at boxwineguy -at – boxwines -dot- org.)

Sofia Blanc de BlancsSnekse at the Gastronomic Fight Club couldn’t find an appealing box wine, so instead chose champage in a can: Sofia Blanc de Blancs, from Francis Coppola. To complete the non-traditional approach, snekse even drank it through a straw. He commented, “Not a top of the line wine, but if I could find it for $3 a can again, I’d consider buying it. It would be a fun summer wine in a perfect container for picnics.” Snekse rated it an 87.

Barokes CansEdward at the Wino Sapien also went the can route, tasting two: Barokes Bin 241 Chardonnay Semillon NV, and Barokes ‘Bubbly wine’ Bin 171 Cabernet Shiraz Merlot NV. Edward found both of these to be just fair, rating them 83 and 82, respectively. Edward thinks it will be a while before wine in cans is accepted by wine drinkers, who have yet to fully embrace screw cap closures on conventional bottles.

Kathy at the Boxed Wine Spot tried in vain to locate some interesting and different boxed wines, so instead she planned an impromptu tasting event with eight friends. They tried five different Pinot Grigios: Corbett Canyon 2006 Pinot Grigio, Delicato 2005 Pinot Grigio, FishEye 2005 Pinot Grigio, Trove 2005 Pinot Grigio, and Wine Cube 2005 Pinot Grigio. Not surprisingly, the tasters all had different opinions. The biggest winner of the night was the FishEye – it elicited five votes for “top pick”, including the guest Kathy considered her expert. The very inexpensive Corbett Canyon scored about as well as the FishEye with the group at large, though the expert didn’t much like it. This was so much fun that Kathy’s ready to try it again, perhaps with Shiraz.

Bulk wine pouringLisa at Vinorati took quite a different approach, opting to sample some bulk wines. Once common in Europe, the practice of filling a customer’s container directly or furnishing a plastic bottle is gradually being phased out, according to Lisa, with some of that volume going to the more convenient bag-in-box product – read the post for a historical perspective on bulk wine distributon. The wines she tried were all red table wines: Saint-Emilion Cave Cooperative, Bordeaux Superieure, and Vin de Table (Montagne Saint-Emilion) . Lisa liked the Saint-Emilion Cave Cooperative the best, considering it a decent party wine, while the phrase “cherry cough syrup” figured in the notes for the last wine.

Wine for NewbiesBill of Podcast: Wine for Newbies made an excursion to Sam’s Wine & Spirits to hunt down some different boxed wine. He found Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 and Cuvee de Peña 2004. The Killer Juice cab earned a mere 75 points from Bill. The Cuvee de Peña, a blend of various Rhône varietals, fared better. Bill liked the color and balance of the wine, rating it an 82.

Seppelt Cream SherryHaalo, who hails from the Cook (almost) Anything… at least once blog, a kind of wine we haven’t seen in a box before: a fortified wine, specifically Seppelt Cream Sherry. Once Haalo got past the fear of being seen exiting the store with a two-liter cask of sherry, things improved. Haalo liked to color and nose of this sherry, and commented, “Not overly sweet, it’s rich but not cloying – well-balanced with just the right about of acid to make it refreshing. Serve chilled it’s perfect for pre- and post- dinner sipping.” Haalo also reminds us that, for better or worse, Australia was the origin of the bag-in-box package.

RainDance ShirazMichelle, of My Wine Education, apparently took the assignment as a real educational opportunity – she tasted four wines in three packaging styles: 2003 Aussie Sweet White (can), Sofia Mini(can), French Rabbit Cabernet Sauvignon (TetraPrism), and Rain Dance South African Shiraz (box). Michelle liked the Sofia (though she did decide to pour it in a glass rather than sipping through the straw or chugging it directly from the can). She also enjoyed the Rain Dance Shiraz, finding it to be easy-drinking and straight-forward.

Three Thieves Pinot GrigioDr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 found the assignment the hardest WBW yet, but found 2005 Three Thieves “Bandit” Pinot Grigio in a 4-pack of TetraPaks. He recommends pouring the wine into a glass to gauge the aroma, which he notes is difficult to do through a straw. Dr. D says, “This was certainly not the worst pinot grigio I’ve ever had, and at $2.75 per juice box, or under $8 for the equivalent of a 750ml bottle, it represented good QPR.”

Hardys ShirazFarley of Wine Outlook contributes comments on Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs (can) and 2004 Hardy’s Shiraz (box). Clearly, WBW participants have a thing for the Sofia cans, and Farley liked the sparkling wine a lot. The Hardy’s, unfortunately, didn’t fare quite as well. “Very thin, rather bitter, with very little fruit or any other flavors” summed up the flavors Farley found.

Tesco Sicilian Red WineAndrew at Spittoon may have found it necessary to use the receptacle from which his blog takes its name when he tried Tesco Sicilian Red Wine. We haven’t seen that brand before, and we won’t look for it now. Andrew found it to be quite awful: “God its terrible. Sweet fruit initially, simple, then a hollow centre, a whack of tannins and the overwhelming feeling of disappointment. Acidic. Rough. Unbalanced.” Sorry to inflict that on you, old chap!

Delicato ShirazSonadora of The Wannabe Wino fared better than Andrew (thank goodness) by trying a 2005 Delicato Shiraz. At the outset, the thought of boxed wines brought only Franzia to Sonadora’s mind, but she was surprised to find the Delicato Shiraz quite drinkable. She judged to to be the equivalent of a $7 – $8 bottled Shiraz.

Russ of Winehiker Witiculture hiked over to Albertson’s to find a 2004 French Rabbit Pinot Noir, a one-liter TetraPak carton. Despite its promising French origin, this is one rabbit that wouldn’t run, or even hop, for Russ. The color and aroma were promising, but this Pinot Noir was a big disappointment on the palate for Russ. He awarded it 9 points… that sounds quite good, until you realize it’s on a scale of 20.

Seb of The Table took a highly unorthodox approach to tasting 2004 Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon. Forget the fancy Riedel stemware, the starched tablecloths, and other elements of fine dining. Seb instead chose to taste it in the middle of the night, in a bus parked in the woods, with candles as the sole light source… poured in a mug to accompany cold pizza, the Killer Juice cab served its purpose, even if it didn’t prove to be a great wine.

Trove CabernetLenn of Lenndevours (originator of Wine Blogging Wednesday) was a bit worried about the whole box wine idea… he’d never had one that was even gulpable. Fortunately, Lenn picked up a box of Trove 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, and found it to be better than expected. Lenn found, “lots of red berries, especially cherries, throughout, fruity but not Australian or overdone. Very little oak and rather juicy, medium body.”

Three Thieves Pinot GrigioCatherine of Purple Liquid tried two different wines: 2004 Three Thieves Bandit Pinot Grigio (Tetra Pak) and 2005 Hardy’s Stamp of Australia Cabernet Sauvignon (3 liter box). Catherine liked the Pinot Grigio, and suggests pouring it into a bottle to serve to guests! The Cab proved to be an adequate everyday drinking wine, but the 3 liter quantity was a bit intimidating; some of it may end up in a stew!

Casa La Joya Cabernet-Carmenere Tim of Winecast also found the topic to be the most daunting WBW yet. Tim was up to the challenge, though, scoring a 3 liter cask of Casa La Joya Cabernet-Carmenere NV from the Colchagua Valley, Chile. This is one of the more unique wines in this WBW, and is exactly the kind of wine we were hoping some entrants would discover to share with the rest of us. Tim described the wine as, “Purple-black in color with aromas of dark fruit, black pepper and mint. Full bodied on the palate with flavors of blackberry, bell pepper and gunmetal finishing with moderate tannins.” He found it to be a nice everyday wine and a good value at under $5 per bottle-equivalent.

Huevos con Vino was another entrant who tried Sofia Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine. Read the post for an interesting discussion of the marketing origins of this Sofia wine – it’s a product targeted at a young market looking for convenience and a readily accessible flavor. Though the product may not appeal to serious wine drinkers, it may serve as a gateway to introduce a new generation of consumers to the pleasures of wine.

Virgin VinesErin and Michelle write the Grape Juice blog, and decided not to stray very far from traditional packaging: they found Virgin Vines in little plastic bottles. Trying Virgin Vines Shiraz, Erin and Michelle weren’t impressed, summing it up as “Typical poopy bottom of the barrel Californian.” They think it’s a marketing-driven wine that doesn’t have much to offer. They both rate it, “I wouldn’t make faces.”

Dr. Vino comes up with another of the unique finds for this WBW – unfortunately, Domain Sorin Cotes de Provence 2005 Rose is available only in France. It is made without chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the vineyard, and is comprised of four classic grape varieties from the region. It comes in a 5-liter box, with a price of about $6 per bottle-equivalent.

Tom of Citizen Wine offers the largest group of boxed wines in this WBW – a group of 17 members of the newly formed San Francisco Wine Enthusiast Meetup group sampled a total of 18 bag-n-box wines. Read the post for more details, but one of the big favorites was the low-cost Corbett Canyon Chardonnay. The wine determined to be the best of the group was a box of Hardys Shiraz.

French RabbitAlder of Vinography did a nice writeup on 2005 French Rabbit Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France. He provides intersting background on the wine, and concludes that “this stuff ain’t awful.” Alder continues, “This is a totally unobjectionable Chardonnay that most folks would be pleased to drink, though it displays little personality or complexity… I’ve certainly been served worse at some weddings I’ve attended.”

Garry of Tales of a Sommelier went in a completely different direction and tasted a Paul Masson White Wine Carafe. The bottle can be pressed into service for vase duty, but, according to Garry, the wine itself is quite bad. He notes, “there really wasnt much taste at all, chilling it made it slightly more palatable, but barely…”

Joe and Pam of A Guy, A Girl, and A Bottle temporarily became A Couple With Cans by trying this WBW’s most popular choice, Sofia Blanc de Blancs. Their podcast format captures the ensuing sound effects in high fidelity. Pam gave the sparkler a thumb up, and Joe thought the small package format would make the Sofia a good choice for mixing with other wine or spirits without having to uncork a whole champagne bottle.

Liz of LizKitchen invited a few friends over for a small group tasting and selected three Chardonnays from three continents: Banrock Station’s 2006 Chardonnay from Australia, Wine Block Chardonnay from California, and French Rabbit Chardonnay from France. The Banrock Station wine was enjoyed by all, and judged to be a good party or picnic choice. The Wine Cube earned high marks for its amazingly compact packaging, but was found to be rather mead-like. The French Rabbit drew mixed reviews, ranging from “undrinkable” and “unpleasant” to “fine.”

Maarten of ChâteauBrys considered trying a single-serving wine box, but instead tried a wee (187 ml) bottle of 2002 Delicato Chardonnay from California. Maarten commented, “The Chardonnay itself is a nice US-style Chardonnay: lots of oak, grease and vanilin. For lovers only.”

As noted above, if I’ve missed your entry or messed it up in some matter, please drop me an email. I’ll publish some additional commentary on the lessons from this WBW tomorrow.

A big THANK YOU to all participants, particularly those who ended up with some not very good wines! Your reporting will save some other readers from having the same bad experience!

Ironstone Obsession California Symphony 2005

Ironstone Obsession California SymphonyPrice: $7
Maker: Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys, California
Varietal: Symphony
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork
Alcohol: 12%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Ironstone Obsession California Symphony 2005 is a moderately sweet white wine made from Symphony grapes, which are a California varietal derived from Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris in the 1960s. Its nose has floral, pear, and sweet melon notes. The flavor features peach, cantaloupe, pear, and honey. It’s saved from being too cloying and sweet by a tingly, acidic finish. We found it to be eminently drinkable.

We served this at a small party and it was a huge hit with the ladies. There wasn’t a drop left at the end of the evening, and several went to the trouble of writing down the details so they could shop for it themselves. The San Francisco Chronicle notes, “Its aroma is strongly floral, with some star anise. It’s very slightly sparkling (‘frizzante’ is the technical term), and its flavors are reminiscent of a good Gewurztraminer: strongly floral, with notes of Meyer lemon and prickles of pepper on the finish.” So, if you are looking for an inexpensive, slightly different, crowd-pleasing white wine, try the Ironstone Symphony.