We were greeted upon arrival by Dee Dee Morlock, who immediately invited us to follow her back to the tasting rooms. Dee Dee is definitely one of the highlights of a visit to McLaughlin – friendly, open and welcoming, she quickly makes you feel comfortable and at ease.
As Christy and I said hello to another couple who had just started their tasting, Dee Dee introduced the menu: 4 whites and 2 reds. McLaughlin specializes in dry wines, and all of the whites are fermented in stainless steel, which produces a cleaner, crisper flavor than oak fermentation, and allows the vintner to better control the oak through use of oak chips.
Chardonnay This is a smooth, crisp, dry Chardonnay. Pale yellow with a bright, slightly citrus nose, the wine itself is light with notes of citrus and oak. Christy mentioned that the aftertaste was reminiscent of a Muscadine.
Coyote The tasting notes describe this as a semi-dry white. A blend of aurore and vidal blanc grapes, the color is a beautiful medium-gold that catches the light. The color is a bit less intense in the glass, but you can see from the picture on the left how the light really highlights depths in the color. The nose has strong notes of green apple, and there is a tartness in the wine that off-sets the semi-sweetness beautifully. Christy described it as “getting into the roof of your mouth” – a very apt description. It is a very intriguing wine, and both Christy and I starred this as one of our favorites.
Snow Goose This is a winter white, a late harvest wine; the grapes are harvested around the time of the first frost. It’s a semi-sweet wine, though, and drier than what I normally expect from a late harvest wine. The color is a medium-yellow, and the nose is sweet and fruity. In the mouth both the sweetness and fruitiness are light and nicely balanced.
Vista Amber 100% aurore grapes, this is a fruity wine with strong notes of honey. The skins of the aurore grapes are used during fermentation, and as a result the wine has a beautiful deep amber color. There’s a jewel-tone quality to the wine – it is absolutely gorgeous in the glass. The nose has light fruit notes with strong honey overtones, and the honey notes add a depth and richness that border on decadence. The wine itself is not overly sweet, and has subtle notes of honey on the tongue. It’s not mead, but it has affinities with mead. Dee Dee mentioned that it is terrific warmed on the stove with mulling spices, or paired with meats such as pork tenderloin or turkey. Another wine that both Christy and I starred as one of our favorites.
That concluded the whites; next up, the Reds…