The 2011 Gnarly Head Authentic White is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Colombard, Muscat and Viognier sourced from more than one California grape growing AVA. Whenever you see the word, California, on the front label of a wine bottle, that means the grapes were grown in more than one AVA, such as Napa or Sonoma. The grapes can come from 2 AVA’s or from all of them, but here the grapes are sourced from Lodi and Monterey. Gnarly Head is one of Delicato Family Vineyards wines, their other labels include, Brazin, Bota Box, Twisted and HandCraft. The various lots of grapes used in the Authentic White do not undergo malolactic fermentation or oak aging, here the grapes are simply going to be an expression of the vintage and the blenders skills. The alcohol content is a relatively mild 11.5%.
The color is a pale, clear lemon yellow. The nose is an explosion of citrus and flowers, with a touch of sugary lemon drop candy. The Authentic White has a very assertive, silky, mouth-feel. It tastes surprisingly dry for a wine produced from grapes that can get a little sugary. It starts off with tart grapefruit, unsweetened pineapple and melon. The mid palate adds a slight mineral edge with a citrus hard candy component, but definitely not candy sweet. It is odd, you keep expecting the wine to turn sweet and it just never happens, there are really an interesting array of flavors that do not conform to preconceived notions. The acidity is solid and well balanced and gives an excellent backbone for the flavors to hang on to. The finish is firm and long.
The Gnarly Head Authentic White is an unexpected wine, if came from Italy or the south of France, wine snobs would be all over this blend. This is a delicious and interesting White Blend, that you should be able to find for a few bucks on either side of the ten dollar range. It is a very solidly made wine, it never goes too tart, it does not go too sweet, with all the fruit flavors it never turns into a “fruit bomb,” it keeps it structure and balance. These are all of the attributes wine snobs have been telling us that European wines have and American wines, especially inexpensive American wines, seldom exhibit. At $10 to $12, the Gnarly Head Authentic White can hold its own with about any import White blend in the same price range and can best a bunch that sell for much more.