Today we begin what is sure to be one of the highlights of my blogging experience. Today I get to start justifying drinking more quality alcohol. The excuse, “I have a blog now and readers to share my thoughts with“, is going to be wonderful. I am only half kidding.
With that being said let’s get right into it. As promised in my introductory entry, every week I will bring you a review of a particular alcoholic substance that I have greatly enjoyed or wholeheartedly disliked in the previous week. It can be wine, beer, or liquor. I will share some old favorites that I am enjoying again as well as some new discoveries.
This week the focus will be on wine, specifically a white wine, that I have had several times and enjoy immensely. The wine is called The Honey Pie and it is very deserving of its name.
I discovered The Honey Pie several months ago in Malibu, California, while driving through the Santa Monica mountains with my beautiful girlfriend Mary. We had just picked up a shipment of wine from another local Malibu vintner. The Honey Pie is one of the tasting selections at a small establishment called Sip. Now I have to say that it was Mary’s idea to try this establishment. We had passed by it several times in the past and I always refused to go, because I thought it looked kind of off, but I was sorely mistaken. She finally convinced me to try it and thus a new favorite wine was found.
Sip is in actuality a wonderful location. It’s small tasting room which is tucked behind an old style looking general store and is decorated in a very inviting way. Full of shelves, counters, and chairs made entirely of polished wood. It feels like sitting in a cozy log cabin. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about wine and have wonderful stories to share. They love what they do and it translates into a more comprehensive and enjoyable experience – which probably makes the wine taste even better.
Now before I tell you why I love this wine, I need to share a personal tidbit. I don’t have an active sense of smell. I lost the ability to smell when I was very young. Because it was not a handicap I was born with, my sense of taste was never negatively affected. In fact, my lack of smell has allowed my sense of taste to become more detailed and my palette more sensitive. With this is mind you need to know that I love incredibly flavored wine. Not necessarily sweet, but it has to be multifaceted and well layered. With more generic and poorly made wines it becomes harder to find the niceties. So when I find a wine that has the power to engage my sense of taste by its aroma, I know that I have usually found a winner – and The Honey Pie was one of these wines.
The 2009 Woodstock Collection Honey Pie is a white wine blend. It works out to be 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Muscat. Now for those of you who have no idea what all these varietals are I will do my best to break it down. At some point most of you have had at least one if not all of these types of white wine individually. They are all grown a bit differently and taste differently, but they are all associated by one major trait. They are all what can be considered wines on the sweeter side. The lesser known of the bunch would more than likely have to be the Muscat. The Muscat varietal borders almost on a dessert wine. It is very sweet. The Chardonnay is a bit more commonplace. Typically Chardonnay depending on how it’s made can be very buttery sweet or earthy sweet. This will depend upon whether it was aged in a wood cask, a metal cask, or a combination of both during the aging process. The Sauvignon Blanc varietal is my least favorite of the group. I find it has a more metallic taste, and I enjoy its presence more when it is blended with its siblings.
With all these sweet varietals together you would probably think The Honey Pie is overwhelming. But I can assure you it is not. Don’t get me wrong; it is absolutely on the sweet side of things, but somehow it wonderfully balances. When you pour your first glass you will immediately be able to catch the aroma in the air. Most comprehend this by sticking their nose in the glass and taking a breath. I comprehend this by sticking my face in the glass and taking a deep breath with my mouth. Yes this looks weird and if you ever have the opportunity to see me try a new wine you have my permission to laugh. But you will without a doubt get the scent of honey, but not in an overwhelming way, more in a distant way. Almost enticing you to drink it.
As you take a sip and catch the first drops on your tongue you will sense the Muscat. While it is only 10% of the final blend it starts off the wine perfectly. It fulfills that desire for something sweet that the initial aroma promises. But it is not a one stop wonder. It is more complex. As the initial sweetness calms down you begin to get a more muted citrus taste that hits the back of your tongue and cheeks. This is thanks to the Sauvignon Blanc – it keeps the wine sweet but stops it before it becomes overwhelming.
But the finish is the best part by far. I define a good wine by its finish. And by finish I mean the way the wine feels as I swallow it. The way it goes down. I truly believe that what gives this wine a great edge is the finish that the Chardonnay so wonderfully provides. Who hasn’t swallowed a dessert or a sweet liquor and not felt that sickly feeling as it goes down? The “Oh I’m gonna feel weird later because of this” moment is not apparent with The Honey Pie, even though it very easily could have been given its ingredients. But as you swallow the wine you get a wonderful earthiness that is missing in the first two steps. When I say earthiness I mean a hint of mineral and soil that allows The Honey Pie to go down so smoothly and settle so wonderfully. The Honey Pie is one of those wines that pairs wonderfully with fish such as salmon and halibut. But it can also be used as a treat on a nice sunny afternoon, when all you have is a baguette and some cheese. On the whole I completely recommend giving this wine a try. You won’t be sorry.
If you would like to purchase a bottle of The Honey Pie for delivery you can find it here.
But if you have a free Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the near future and live in the Los Angeles area, consider popping into the Sip Wine Bar.
It was wonderful sharing my thoughts on this well crafted wine with you and I hope you will join me again next week for another review. In the meantime keep on drinking – and I am always excited to try any recommendations a reader might have, so if you have one, or any other comments, please feel free to comment below!
Good Spirits Folks!