Must-Try Wine of Week: Sokol-Blosser Winery Evolution American White Wine

Stanford University grads Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser had only a passing knowledge of farming and winemaking when in 1970 they joined the wave of Californians who pioneered the modern Oregon wine industry. Their travels in a 1968 VW Camper led them to a prune orchard 30 miles southwest of Portland. With a youthful innocence but a committed passion for pinot noir, they cleared the land and planted their first vines the following year.

Today, Sokol Blosser Winery’s legacy is established. The winery has been a leader in research into vineyard cover crops, crop load, canopy management, and sustainable vineyard and winery practices. Their barrel cellar was the first winery building in the country to attain LEED certification. Since 2008, second-generation siblings, Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser, have been at the helm.

Evolution is an unusual blend of 9 varietals including pinot gris, white riesling, Muscat, gewürztraminer, müller-thurgau, semillon, pinot blanc, sylvaner, and chardonnay with an American appellation (not all grapes are from Oregon). Now offered as the 17th edition, the immensely popular wine was first produced when there were very few white proprietary blends on the market. Today it has fans throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. It has even spawned Evolution Sparkling and most recently, Evolution Red wine.

The wine’s label is appropriately descriptive. “As luck would have it, a random number of varietals took a liking to each other and decided to become a lush, off-dry, somewhat tropical wine with a crisp finish.” Former winemaker Russ Rosner, who created the wine, says, “It’s like mixing nine different colors of paint and trying to end up with a rainbow instead of a muddy brown.”

I found the wine truly unique, with no special varietal correctness. Aromas are complex and include lemon, dried mango, honeysuckle, pastry cream, and roasted almonds. On the palate, the delicately flavored wine is bright and easy to like, with tastes of pineapple, pear eau de vie, spice, and citrus infused with bright, refreshing acidity.

Fermented in 100 percent stainless steel, the alcohol is a friendly 12.0 percent and the residual sugar is 1.2 percent, giving the wine a very slight sweetness. Evolution White is extremely versatile at the table, and really shines when chilled and sipped with Thai curry, Tandoori chicken, spicy tuna rolls, or baked sole with lemon butter.

This crowd pleaser is widely distributed, including www.totalwine.com, www.cravingswinebar.com, and www.hitimewine.net, at the retail price of $15. Your favorite retailer can order it as well. The wine even has its own website: www.evolutionwine.com.