Weekly Wine Pick – Wine Picks by Wine Pros (Dennis Kelly, Head Sommelier, The French Laundry told to Derek Swanson)

2009 Massican Annia: “Dennis Kelly, sommelier at The French Laundry, recommended a beautiful white wine to us over two years ago. The Riesling from Stony Hill Vineyard is an atypical varietal of Napa, and a wonderful example of what winemakers can do when they push the limits of terroir. The capacity for such a recommendation is the one reason Mr. Kelly is head sommelier at America’s best restaurant. When we recently asked him what he has been drinking these days, he was inspired to offer the following insights on another Napa white:

“While Massican takes its name from a coastal mountain range in southern Italy, proprietor and winemaker Dan Petroski draws his inspiration from the blended wines of Friuli in the eastern hills of northern Italy.

“His white wine “annia” is a blend of dry-farmed Friulano from sixty-three year old vines, a floral “Muscat Clone” of Chardonnay from Carneros and Ribolla Gialla (Yellow Ribolla) from legendary Napa Valley Italian grape aficionado George Vare. Mr. Vare’s famed vineyard, planted in metamorphic soils at the base of Mount Veeder, is the only known planting of Ribolla in the country and provides grapes to some of the finest winemakers in the Napa Valley._With subtle honeysuckle and orange-blossom notes mingling with aromas of white peach and Bosc pear, “annia” is quite fragrant. When the wine hits the palate the fresh citrus flavors provide laser-like focus and impressive length._”The bright, crisp style and modest 12.8% alcohol level make this wine the ideal compliment for salad and seafood courses at The French Laundry. The bad news? With only 238 cases of this wine produced, I expect that it will be sold-out in a Milan-minute.

“Chef Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry has garnered world-wide acclaim from every leading lifestyle publication and newspaper. It is an icon. To some it is the equivalent of Mecca. I began my pilgrimage 6 weeks ago when I called for a reservation and was placed on the waiting list. I booked my flights and hotel, with faith that I would show up at the gate and be deemed worthy. The stars aligned and a cancellation 3 days prior to my Saturday visit secured me a table, and I will get to enjoy Mr. Kelly’s recommendation personally.”

jump to: