Qupe shares a production facility with the famous Chardonnay producer Au Bon Climat, which is a cult favorite from the Central Coast appellation that commands hefty prices on the market. Qupe was founded Bob Lindquist who got his start, like many of today's small producers as a cellar rat for Zaca Mesa winery where he met and learned from winemakers Ken Brown and Jim Clendenen. After seven years "under the influence" Bob decided to begin winemaking under his own label, and founded Qupe in 1982 in order to produce primarily Rhone Style wines, which were his first and abiding love.
In addition to these Rhone varietals, Bob also continues to produce Chardonnay (from the grapes he shares with Au Bon Climat) and this wine, which his an even 50/50 split of Chardonnay and Viognier. "By itself the Viognier is quite ripe and rather alcoholic with low acidity. The Chardonnay reigns it back in and balances the wine perfectly," says Bob, who recommends the wine as a warm weather aperitif as well as to complement Asian cuisine.
The color of pale straw, with a distinctive greenish tinge, this wine has a typically heady Viognier nose of jasmine and orange zest. In the mouth it has a nice acidity (thanks to the Chard) and more than a little oak on it, with flavors of lemon, some mineral characteristics, and a clean finish. While this wine was a little heavy on the oak for me, and the aromatics of the Viognier weren't backed by really solid fruit, I think that many people will find this very drinkable, especially those looking for a break from Chardonnay.
I first had this wine at a Raclette cheese party with some friends and it didn't fare very well with the strong flavors of the cheese and the starch of the accompanying potatoes. I'd try serving it (nice and cold) with Vietnamese Imperial Rolls, or other light, slightly spicy dishes.
Overall Score: 8.5
How much?: $17
This wine is available for sale on the winery's Web site.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23 Vinography Images: Night Sorting Small is Beautiful: The Champagnes of Savart I'll Drink to That: Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewing Warm Up: Jerez de la Frontera I'll Drink to That: Antonio Flores of González Byass California 2015 - Vintage of Fire Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/16 A Selection of Georgian Wines
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune