GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU: Does this winery name sound German or what? Family members have fun with it: They shorten it to “Gun Bun” in their URL and some of their marketing material. The winery is actually the oldest family-run winery in California, currently managed by the sixth generation of the Bundschu family. It was founded in 1858 by German-born Jacob Gundlach who would link up with partner Charles Bundschu from Mannheim, and since then the winery has remained family owned and operated. They survived the outbreak of phylloxera in the vineyards in the 1870s, the San Francisco earthquake and fire that destroyed their warehouse and homes, and the shuttering of the winery during Prohibition. The Euro roots and strong family ties still are the glue at this winery today. Their wines emphasize quality and authenticity — not what focus groups say. The Gewurztraminer, their flagship, surely is a knockout for me.
Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County 2014, $22: The tall, slender, dark green bottle and long linen-white label and neck capsule, and long cork, tell you right away this is serious wine. The back label states twice that it is a dry wine. (Gewurz is often made in a sweet style.) Gewurztraminer is in fact one of the original varieties planted on the Rhinefarm vineyard eight miles from San Pablo Bay. Vinified absolutely dry, it makes a tremendous food wine (perfect for the Thanksgiving turkey) or aperitif. The nose showcases typical Gewurz aromas — floral, lychee nut, jasmine, green apple and citrus notes — followed by dry flavors laced with minerality that mirror all those aromas. It’s complex, elegant, refreshing. It has body and weight. Alcohol is 14.3 percent.
Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee Sonoma County Red Wine 2012, $20: This variation on a Bordeaux blend is described by the winery as “a serious wine for everyday enjoyment.” Isn’t that what wine lovers are looking for? It’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and additional varieties from the home vineyard and other Sonoma County vineyards. And mountain cuvee? The home vineyard is at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain range. It’s a seriously dry, structured red blend with aromas of dark berry, cherry, plum and black licorice infused with French oak.
AVAILABILITY: Gundlach Bundschu wines are available in Metro Detroit stores including Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Joe’s Produce and Busch’s-Livonia. The local distributor is National Wine & Spirits.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at email@example.com.