Kongsgaard Viognier-Rousanne 2002
Rhone White Blends from Napa Valley, California
The Wine Advocate - "One of California’s finest white Rhone Ranger blends is Kongsgaard’s 2002 Roussanne/Viognier (45% of the former and 55% of the latter, both co-fermented). Kongsgaard told me the wine that inspired this cuvee was Beaucastel’s Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes, a 100% Roussanne considered by most authorities to be the Montrachet of the southern Rhone Valley. Exotic notes of papaya, mango, and other tropical fruits intermixed with lychee and mineral characteristics emerge from this full-bodied, concentrated, intoxicating, provocative white. It is meant to be consumed during its first 2-3 years of life as once the aromatics begin to crack up, much of this wine’s allure is over. "
International Wine Cellar - "Bright aromas of citrus and peach, with a piquant cyanic bitterness. Very dry and very fresh, with a tactile, phenolic quality that is supported by-or perhaps the result of-the wine's intense peach, apricot and mineral flavors. The structure here comes from rocks and tannins, notes Kongsgaard, not acidity. Finishes firm and very long. At least as good as the 2001 version. Serve this with scallops, lobster bisque or fish soup in general, he suggests. Kongsgaard originally found that the viognier from this hilltop site was too floral and the roussanne too minerally, earthy and gnarly, so he began by blending the two varieties. Pretty soon he was co-fermenting them, and now he actually picks the two varieties together."
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About Napa Valley
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.