Wine Review – 2006 Qupe Ibarra-Young Vineyard Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley, California

"Qupe - A modern stone age winery" - Gotta love the slogan

"Qupe - A modern stone age winery" - Gotta love the slogan

Winery: Qupe Wine Cellars

Bottling: 2006 Ibarra-Young Vineyard Viognier

Region: California

Sub-Region: Santa Ynez Valley

Estimated Retail Price: $30

Purchase Details & Tasting Source: I found this at a price well below the retail price at our local wine store.  So low I don’t want to say where or how much.  Just want to protect the retailer as well as the wineries image.  Had this with dinner at Irifune Restaurant in Honolulu, HI.

Tasting Notes: This wine was an absolute steal so we were chomping at the bit to taste it soon, so we could buy more if we liked it.  Just so happens we had some friends in town that we were happy to share it with at some BYOB restaurant.  I know this wine is serious enough to warrant being the showcase of a meal, but we had a hefty red to drink for the evening and guests that really like the heavier red stuff, so this wine was the starter by default.

On the nose the wine had a lot of mineral and stony aromas.  I also got some hints of white flowers and white peach.  I didn’t catch any other fruits on the nose.  The stone and mineral aromas were also apparent as flavors in the mouth as well as the white peach and green apple flavors.

The wine was pretty light and elegant for a viognier.  It didn’t have the mouth-filling qualities and heady aromas that I come to expect from this viognier.  After looking at the winemaking notes on the Qupe website, it all made sense.

Winemaker Bob Lindquist prefers to pick his viognier earlier in the harvest when acid levels are higher and sugars are lower, rather than later, which seems to be the more common practice with viognier.  With his version, he’s going for a more restrained and refreshing style rather than the rich, heady style.

Food Pairing & Context In Which to Enjoy: While the wine was great aperitif, I don’t want to take away from the fact that it can be a great showcase for a meal as well.  Shellfish or hot day quaffing are calling this wine’s name.

Winery & Other Background Information: I met Bob Linquist once during a trade tasting on Oahu in 2006 when we were first starting our store.  He was one of the most easy-going and approachable people you’ll ever meet.  You just want to buy his wines.  His winery’s slogan is so appropriate to his winemaking style – “Qupe, A modern stone age winery.”

One taste of his wines and you’ll easily see the old world sensibility in them.  Several of his wines are under twenty bucks and are fantastic values in that they have present day drinking qualities as well as great cellaring potential.

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