White Essence

So this little screw-top has been lingering in my cellar for AGES. I have no idea where I got it–it might have been my one and only visit to Halter Ranch–but my hands have glanced over it numerous times. Until now. Wow. What a beautiful wine. Dark golden, with no indication of blend or variety on the label, it truly is a shockingly well-aged white. Heavy petrol in the nose, morphing to pretty floral and chalky, grainy density of fruit. Calm plum, alpine berry, and pretty condensed tropical, although it is the same color as the Chardonnay of earlier, it remains bright and effusive of spirit, not showing ANY of the toasty characteristics mentioned on that one. European of nature, calm and focused in spirit, the buttery reduction of age blossoms perfectly on all points. Clean and vibrant, glycerin glowing and distinct essence the high points, acidity is obvious in the nose, while still applying the cellar-floor of age and neutral-barrel gorgeousness across an aged plain.

In the mouth, crystalline goodness abounds. The fruit is intact and sweet, peach blossom and firm pineapple plying amber waters of savory sweat. At almost-60°, it shows the kind of goodness and complexity required–but rarely found–in burgeoning AVA whites. Thick and full-bodied, resplendent in acid, delicate briar engages seamlessly with drying structure, a white-plum meaty fruit showing flushingly against asphalt, barnyard, and bird-of-paradise oozing sap. HOW on earth is this wine showing so well??? Absolute perfection, although I am sure it was not destined for this treatment–but here we are–and I SERIOUSLY wish I had 10 more bottles of this. I want to go full Picpoul, but not sure they had this in 2008, so the usual suspects of Grenache Blanc and Viognier come into play. Who knows: I DON’T CARE.

Not sure if this programme still exists at the winery–back label indicates a field-blend–but THIS is what aged whites need to taste and smell like. Well done.

2008 HALTER RANCH “Ranch White” Paso Robles 14.5


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