Over the course of the various monthly #WineStudio sessions I have participated in, I have discovered not all critter wines are created equal, New Jersey puts out some good juice, and that Albariño should be more of a household name than it is. I usually like the winery and like the wine, but rarely do I think the way they make wine is the coolest thing ever and also go gaga for the bottles. However, that was the case with Adorada, another wine made under the larger Fetzer Wine Brand. We don’t know what was in the wines we tasted, and as we spoke to the winemaker, we learned that the way Margaret Leonardi blends it is essentially blind. She blends different amounts of the grapes she has in order to see how the flavors play with one another and create a balanced, aromatic wine that captivates all of the senses. Even while the harvest is occurring,grapes are picked with varying sugar levels and fermented in a number of ways so some develop sweeter characteristics and others are encouraged to highlight their dry sides. Margaret referred to this as a “spice rack,” which made it sound all the neater to me.
I’ve encountered several great bottles that I stock up on through #WineStudio. I even joined one winery’s wine club after trying a couple of bottles through this program. However, the 2016 Adorada Eau de California Pinot Gris was the first one to wholly surprise and excite me. I went in with very low expectations because I am not usually a fan of light whites, yet Margaret showed me just what you can do with a gentle, thoughtful hand. There were light white fruits, like pear on the nose as well as floral notes similar to lilies and orchids. On the palate it was slightly sweet and full of juicy fruits like melons. There was just a hint of lemon zest, and while I usually crave the zing of citrus, this was a beautifully delicate option. It was like you were just thrown into an orchard blindfolded and had to find your way around. My sister’s boyfriend finished his glass within five minutes and when I showed some surprise he said, “What? This is really good.”
I want 100 bottles of this stuff. I want to drink it when it’s pouring down rain and dreary outside to brighten my day and I want to open a bottle when the humidity at 90 percent to cool me down. One recommendation, finish this the day that you open it. I saved one glass for the following day, and it lost a touch of its sheen. Overall, for $20 this is a steal. I often say on this blog that X wine is worth the cost, or that despite the cost Y wine is worth the purchase. This one is worth more than the SRP. So buy as much as you can and enjoy this real gem from Fetzer Wine Brands. It’s much too early to say this, but I am knighting this as my favorite wine of 2018 (so far). Send me a bottle or two if you take my advice and stock up on this one. It’ll delight; I promise.
The other bottle we were able to try during this #WineStudio session was the 2016 Adorada Eau de California Rosé. The color of fresh summer watermelon, the most forceful note on the palate that I picked up on was the strawberry. From the first sip until my last, that was the thing that always hit me. Other significant notes on which I picked up were orange, red apple, and light white flowers. This totally felt like a summer drink, although you could certainly enjoy it any time of year. Given the option between the two, I think it’s clear I would have gone for the Pinot Gris, but that’s only because it impressed me more than any wine I’ve had this year. However, the rosé was very enjoyable and one of the more complex, fragrant, and flavorful ones that I have ever had. Since this one also rings in with an SRP of $20, I suggest getting both and experimenting for yourself. As for the black wax that seals each bottle, run the top under very hot water for about 30 seconds and then the tab should pull off easily. It’s a little extra work, but for a wine this good, it’s totally worth it.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much from these simple bottles, but between the classic and clean packaging that I could see millennials flocking to, the layered flavors, and each bottle being a multi-sensory experience, this is one of those wineries that you cannot ignore once you learn about it. Slow down, sniff, sip, and enjoy everything that these wines have to offer. In our hectic lives these days, it’s nice to take a moment out of the day to do this, and there’s no better wine to do this with than Adorada.
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries/importers listed above, but all opinions are my own.