RH Phillips EXP Viognier 2003
Viognier from California
Fragrant orange blossom, jasmine and tropical fruit aromas. On
the palate the wine is rich, with a creamy texture and intriguing hints of
honey and spice. The finish is long, with vibrant flavors of kiwi, lychee
RH Phillips Winery
In 1973 Karl and John Giguiere (along with John's wife Lane) went home to the Dunnigan Hills farm they grew up on to settle down to the idyll life on the family wheat and sheep operation. The charm of being shepherds quickly wore off when the three discovered that sheep use almost zero percent of their brains. The sheep were fired. In 1981, they planted 10 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc; in 1983, they started their own winery. Naming their new venture after the brothers' maternal grandfather, they launched R.H. Phillips with 4,000 cases of wine. They sold every drop. Next year they sold 40,000 cases; the year after that, they sold 150,000 cases. Today, R.H. Phillips has 1600 acres of grapes on the property, and produces over 400,000 cases of wine.
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About Other California
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.