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grapes reviews

Tasting Pillar Box White 2006

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Robert Parker called the 05 Pillar Box Red one of the best wine values in the world. Let’s see what the white’s like!

Clear straw yellow with green reflections. Floral, nectarine, lemony, slightly honeyed nose with nice granny smith apple tartness.  Good viscosity and a minerally finish. Very tart and slightly chalky on the palate. Extended lees contact and some neutral oak, evidently, which would tend to explain the complexity on the palate despite the one-noted appleyness I get.

This is a super wine for food because of its round, rich mouthfeel and the bright acidity and minerality at the end. It’s not easy to find a new world wine with such nice acidity and rich, heavy texture. I’d pair this with a blackened chicken or carnitas.

Complete aside, in which I ramble on about a little-known grape varietal: Verdelho is a grape that’s best known for being one of the four main grapes used to make Madiera. Madiera is a kooky little island that’s closer to Morocco but is evidently owned by Portugal. According to The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, the island was discovered by Captain Jao Goncalves (known as The Squinter), who sailed off to find Guinea and couldn’t figure out why this one cloud never moved. In 1418, he decided to sail into the cloud and, lo and behold, he hit land. The forest was so dense that the Captain decided that the best thing to do was burn it all down; legend says the fire he started burned for 7 years, and it’s said that the resulting effect on the soil is the reason that the wines grown on Madiera are so fantastic.

One of these days I will post tasting notes on a Madiera, and we’ll get into the reason that the wine’s baked!

Anyhow, Verdelho was brought to Australia in 1825, and it’s really only in Australia that it has a healthy sense of self. In Portugal, they make a kind of flabby, white trash Verdelho in the Duoro Valley. Madiera’s Verdelho is blended and then, as I have mentioned, baked, so it’s kind of like an over-tanned, aged conjoined quadruplet. In Australia, Verdelho is allowed to shine on its own. Depending on the region it’s grown in, it ranges toward tropical, floral characteristics or grassy/lemony/herbaceous notes, and can make a high-alcohol wine if the grapes are picked late. Oak aging will stabilize it, add creaminess, and sometimes bring out a nutty character.

In this Pillar Box White, I would attribute the floral and nectarine odors to the Verdelho. Also perhaps the lemon. The flavor and texture seem mostly Chardonnay to me, and the acidity is certianly encouraged by the Sauvignon Blanc, but a lot of the nose seems to be that Australian Verdelho talking.

0 replies on “Tasting Pillar Box White 2006”

Personally, I think the Pillar Box White is WAY better than the PB Red. At least in the current vintage, anyhow. We tend to like lots of what Chris Ringland does, and when he does it at this price, who can complain?

I also agree that it is very versatile in terms of food…

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