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The Wine Life: 2017 Muddy Arch

The Wine Life: 2017 Muddy Arch

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Grapes: Roussanne

Location: California

Owner: Leonard Wine Company

Winemaker: Chris Leonard

Approximate Retail Price: $21



Color: Bright, deep golden hue; reflective and clear

Aroma: Weighty with ripe, rich fruit; Golden Delicious apple and pear laced with floral elegance and slight minerality

Taste: Luscious palate with flavors of lemon candy, apple, pineapple and melon with lingering acidity

The father-and-son team of Tom and Chris Leonard (originally of St. Louis) shares a passion and love for wine that culminated in the eventual creation of Leonard Wine Company, a winery dedicated to true-form varietal-style and food-friendly wines.

After extensive traveling, Tom Leonard developed a taste for wine – more specifically, old-world wine. Growing up with that influence, Chris Leonard also developed a palate for the nectar of the gods. As a result, he decided to dedicate his life to learning the art and science of winemaking. He has worked all over the globe in a variety of positions, from harvester to cellar rat to assistant winemaker, as well as under a Master Sommelier.

After settling in Napa Valley, California, Chris finally took on the challenge of making his own wine, choosing zinfandel and roussanne as his primary varietals, with the goal of creating food-friendly wines. Zinfandel is known as an extremely food-friendly wine, depending on how it’s made, but roussanne was a unique choice, to say the least.

Predominantly originating in the southern Rhône region, roussanne is a grape that usually lends itself to a heavier, weightier white wine. Often blended, but still resilient on its own, it can fill the void of a buttery, oaky chardonnay without attempting to mimic it. It can provide a full-mouthed feel and complement any paired dish as easily as – and often better than – many chardonnays.

Sourcing roussanne in California was a bit of a challenge for Chris Leonard, though he managed to find some of the best roussanne plantings throughout Northern California and harvested its fruit early in order to maintain higher acidity and less ripeness, more resembling the old-world style the Leonard family loves.

Food Pairings: The 2017 Muddy Arch goes well with soft and medium cow, goat or sheep cheeses, paté, chicken breast with roasted vegetables, trout amandine, crabcakes and shrimp étouffée.

Certified Sommelier Stanley Browne owns Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves.

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Stanley Browne is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist of Wine by the Society of Wine Educators, and the owner of Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves.

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Grilled or sautéed whitefish, trout or salmon all pair nicely with this wine, as do salads with light vinaigrettes, hard cheese and salamis.