It is rare that you taste through a lineup of wine where every wine showcases quality and stunning depth. This is my second run through of wines from the Wagner family, makers of Mer Soleil, Conundrum, Meiomi, Belle Glos and Caymus. For the second time, I am blown away. Previous scores for these wines ranged from 3+ to 4+. The 2008 Belle Glos Pinot Noir was my #2 wine of 2010 and my bench mark for Pinot.
For this review, I’m embarrassed to share that I drank SIX bottles of Wagner wines…all by myself. Before you schedule an intervention, let me mention that each bottle was a mere 50ml (less than 2 ounces).
For your reading ease, I’ve broken them down into Wagner Whites and Wagner Reds (coming next week). SPOILER ALERT: Any of these six wines would be worthy of gracing your table for the holidays…or any day ending in “y” for that matter.
2009 Mer Soleil Silver
Characterized by a soft fruit nose and a crisp stony mouth feel, the 100% Chardonnay is fermented in cement tanks and bottled in lined ceramic bottles. The wine boasts a well structured balance of fruit and mineral with subtle tones of grapefuit and baked apples. I really enjoyed the 2008 vintage and the 2009 continues the tradition of an excellent Chardonnay. The Silver has a crispness that reminds me of a Sauv Blanc while maintaining the approachable character of a Chardonnay. At $22, most wine lovers will enjoy this wine – 3+/5
2008 Mer Soleil Barrel Fermented
I say Chardonnay, you say _______? This statement often polarizes wine drinkers. Many have a hate for the grape and others drink ONLY oaked Chardonnay (ala Kendall Jackson). The Mer Soleil Barrel Fermented Chardonnay provides a very good balance with the oak seeming very light handed. Definitely a thicker viscosity in the mouth feel with great aroma of banana peel, pencil lead, popcorn. Rarely would I spend $32 on a Chardonnay but this is one of the few that has enough variety in the flavor profile that would cause me to part with my cash. 4/5
The Conundrum wine is a proprietary blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Semillon, and Viognier. The wine has a moderate gold tone in the glass leaning more toward a golden wheat color. Immediately the floral and tropical aromas jump out of the glass causing me to think Viognier and Muscat Canelli. At first sniff, the thoughts of sweet syrup cross my mind but a subtle interwoven aroma of lemon and guava save the day. In the mouth the wine is slightly flabby but very full of flavor. The sweetness indicated on the nose is not overwhelming in the mouth. A hint of honey quickly gives way to smooth guava and butter. I would venture to guess that the predominate wines in this blend are Chardonnay (oaked), Muscat Canelli, and Semillon (also oaked). The white flowers definitely come from the Viognier. The wine lacks in a strong acidity which may lend itself more to a sipping wine than a food wine but the layers of flavor are very intriguing. Pair this with summer, bikinis, and some fresh shrimp fettuccini pasta or even a fresh cheese plate. The wine can be purchased for $17-$20. 3+/5