Each Friday we highlight a wine from the Northwest that we think is a real "find." By find we might mean that it's a steal, as all of these wines we'll feature weekly are at or under $20. We might also mean "Hey, you really need to go find this" and it might be a wine that we feel not enough people know about. In any case, with the weekend pending we're hoping to help you "find" a wine to kickoff the weekend right. We'll tell you a little bit about the wine and try to help you track it down here in the Northwest.
"It's elementary dear Watson." Simple, basic, like elementary school. But at it's root the word derives from the Latin elementum which refers to the basic components of life, you know like, prior to that complicated periodical chart, when there were only four elements. Earth, air, fire and water for the ancient Greeks, for the Chinese it was wood, metal, water, fire and earth (that's five).
Why do we have to over-complicate everything? Element, elementum, basic. What's basic about 118 elements? What's basic about Mendelevium with a half-life of 258? I'll tell you what's basic about that, basically nothing.
What we need is a return to the old days, the Aristotelian model of four elements, and for those whom are adventurous I recommend throwing in a Fifth Element, otherwise known as Leeloo. Which is obviously an attractive Eastern European model dressed in gauze, who knows Kung Fu.
Today's Friday Find is a return to those days from Elemental Cellars. The personal label of Steven Westby, the winemaker for Witness Tree located in the Eola-Amity Hills region of the Willamette Valley. The wines are not necessarily the most typical of the region, and they're all very well priced. Steven is making cool climate Syrah, Melon (the New World version of Muscadet), some Viognier, and among others, today's find, the Auxerrois. Rare in the world, outside of Alsace that is, but even rarer in Oregon with only three vineyards known to grow the grape, Ribbon Springs of Adelsheim, where David Adelsheim pioneered Auxerrois in Oregon, Zenith Vineyard, where today's find is grown and Sunnyside vineyards.
2010 Elemental Cellars Auxerrois is a wonderful change up to Pinot Blanc, or other crisp whites. It'll also make you seem a bit cooler as likely most of your non-wine geek friends will never even have heard of it. Aromatics of stone and citrus, flavors hint at earlier season stone fruit and crisp zingy acidity, make this wine a killer food pairing option. It's only in the $15 neighborhood and the Elemental wines are fairly well available, although this one may be tougher to find. I tracked it down at Wine World in Seattle. (You can also order it from the Zenith Vineyards website linked to above.)