The Cottage – 2014 Viognier Reserve – Wine Review

The Cottage
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The Cottage Wine Tasting – date 2/3/2018

So today was a Saturday, and while I thought about taking the wine shuttle up to the North Georgia wineries, (like Frogtown, Chateau Elan, Three Sisters, Montaluce, The Cottage and/or Wolf Mountain,) I opted to have a few friends over and taste some wine at my house, so that I could enjoy the tasting too, without worrying about driving or getting a north Georgia hotel near the wineries.

One of my favorite white grape varietals is Viognier. It is floral and citrusy on the nose, while retaining it’s minerality and round mouth feel. It is one of the fuller bodied white grape varietal, which typically hails from the Rhone region in France and is primarily used as a blending grape. It’s also a favorite of mine at Thanksgiving, because it will stand up to big foods while not overpowering lighter fare either.

The first wine on our wine flight is The Cottage Reserve Viognier from 2014. It has been sitting in my cellar for the past 2 years or so. The first thing that I and my fellow wine tasters noticed was the color. It was very light. Let’s call it pale in color. We also observed a low viscosity, meaning low residual sugar. This would lead us to believe that the wine is going to be lower in fruit, suggesting that the minerality will take a central focus on the nose and pallet.

One of the questions that came up was the question of a “halo” in a glass of wine. This is the ring between the wine and the glass. It is easily seen when you tilt the glass and hold up to the light. On aged wines, the color of the wine will bleed into the halo more than on young wines, which will have a clearly pronounced, very clear, ring. This wine still had a nice halo around it, though it was beginning to diminish, also suggesting that it had gone through some bottle age.

The nose was “inviting”, but not powerful. There were citrus notes, like mandarin orange and orange peel. There was also stone minerality. Oak was not prominent on the nose, leading us to think that if there was any oak, it was neutral. There were also floral notes on the nose, like geranium. It was not as floral as some Viognier. People also picked up on a nutty or almondy note.

We gave the intensity on the nose a 3 out of 5, or a “nice and appealing”. It was average and a little less than what we would expect on the nose of a Viognier. This does not negatively reflect the quality of this wine from The Cottage, the grapes used, or the wine maker, it suggests that it might have aged a little too long in the bottle.

On the pallet, the first thing that hit everyone was the acidity, supporting the old-world style that we had picked up on the nose. There was not a ton of fruit. You could taste the minerality and the citrus notes (mandarin orange and some lemon and lime zest), but at 14.5% ABV, it was a little high for a Viognier and the alcohol overpowered some of the fruit. Again, as a wine ages, fruit will diminish, so this was probably a wine that would’ve been better if tasted younger. We also picked up a hint of white pepper on the pallet. The fruit faded very quickly on the pallet. For fruit intensity we gave it an “Ample or Nice” or score of 18 out of 25.

At this point we started to discuss the foods that The Cottage wine would pair well with. Someone brought up that it would make for a nice beginning wine to have with appetizers and they thought that some cucumber sandwiches would pair wonderfully. This makes sense because of the high level of acidity in the wine. Acidity is great for fatty foods (creamy cheeses, fatty cuts of meat, etc.) because the acidity will make your mouth water and it will wash away the fatty coating on your taste buds. It becomes a pallet cleanser. We felt that bagels and lox would be good, brie with honey, or just brie on a light cracker.

We got into the taste characteristics, and as the wine opened up, we started getting some other notes on the pallet. We began getting apple, melon, cut green grass, and a hint of butterscotch that popped up on the finish. We felt that it was “very good”, which gave it a 7 out of 10.

When we began reviewing the balance of the wine we felt that it was dry. One person felt that it was off-dry and that they were getting some residual sugar, but that the alcohol and acidity was masking it. We gave the level of Acidity a medium to high level. When it came to complexity, we said that it wasn’t very complex. As it is a yes or no question, we said it was not complex. When it came to the body we all felt that it was medium and not as full bodied as we would expect a Viognier to be. Again, probably due to the cellaring. When it came to overall balance, we said it was “nice”, not quite “harmonious”, but not “slightly off” either. This gave the wine a 3 out of 5 on balance.

On reviewing the finish, it lasted about 30 seconds for me, giving it an “average” finish, or a 3 out of 5.

We felt that this was a “Very Good” wine at this point in time, but if I had anymore in my cellar, I would be drinking it fast before it lost anything else. The wine was impressive enough when I initially tasted it to make me want to buy it, but I aged it for too long. A mistake that can be made quite easily, and I am probably guilty of this with more than one bottle. Using a 50-basis point scale, we gave this wine an 84. Considering I’ve seen scores for Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay at 83, I’d say this wine from The Cottage was acceptable to serve with the right food or to drink on its own. My fault for sitting on it for too long.

Tom Ward

Tom’s life, knowledge, and passion for wine is something that he is excited to share with every guest that he comes in contact with and looks forward to joining them on their wine education and experiences.