Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Great House White from Ceja

Choosing house wines is a difficult business. A house wine must be affordable, obtainable, and versatile. It has to fit many moods, and go with many types of food. Ideally, you keep a few bottles of your house wine around to make your life easier because you know you like it and you know what it tastes like. Last minute dinner invitation? House wine to the rescue for a hostess gift. Last minute decision to sit in the backyard and watch the sunset? House wine to the rescue to toast the colors as they change and darkness falls. Forgot to pick up wine for dinner? House wine to the rescue, since it will probably go with the meal.

Given it's label's claims, I was interested in trying the 2005 Ceja Vino de Casa White Table Wine. I purchased this through my WineQ wine club for $19.99, but it's sold out from WineQ and the winery itself (expect the 2006 soon), but is available from online merchants for between $15 and $20. Ceja is a historic Napa winery, owned by the Mexican-American Ceja family, who came to the US in 1967 and bought 13 acres of land in Carneros in 1983. They celebrated their first vintage in 1988, and have been making wine ever since. Around the top of each bottle is a Latin motto: "vinum, cantus, amor," or "wine, song, and love." This sums up the family's winemaking philosophy, and is an indication of the passion that they bring to the job. I discovered on The Cork Board that Ceja's downtown Napa tasting room is now open for business, so I encourage you to check out the wines if your plans take you to Napa.

All things considered, the Ceja lives up to its label. This nicely made wine was pale straw in color, with aromas of both orchard and tropical fruits. Then there were luscious, mouth-coating pineapple, apple, and pear flavors and a fresh, juicy finish.

With its combination of round fullness and refreshing finish, this wine would indeed go with a very wide range of foods. We had it with roasted chicken and arugula/walnut pesto and the wine stood up nicely to the arugula, walnuts, and cheese as well as complementing the roast chicken. It's versatile enough to go with your Chinese takeout, with appetizers, and with vegetarian dishes, too.

If you don't have a house white yet, this is a great choice. And if you do, let us know what it is in the comments below.


Sonadora said...

We tried this one a while ago and really enjoyed it as well. I thought it was an excellent value for the money and have gotten it several times now. Hard to believe I've been a WineQ member for almost a year now!

Anonymous said...

You know, I don't have a house wine, either red or white. I tend instead to buy low-end red and white bottles around for everyday drinking. It makes it difficult sometimes when my stock gets low and all I have to drink with my chicken alfredo is a Vino Verde... but it does allow me to try some way-out wine pairings, I suppose. ;-)

What's your house red?

Marshall Æon (Enneagram) said...

Great review -- I'll send it to Ceja immediately. Sonadora ordered several bottles of the VdC, so it's her fault that we're all out! ;-)

Thank you both for being members. 2008 should prove to be a much more interesting year, and website, for WineQ...

Dr. Debs said...

AHA! Thanks for letting me know about Sonadora, Marshall, although I drank it because she liked it so I can't be TOO mad at her. As for a house red, Wine Scamp, I have had a few over the years. For a while it was Red Truck. Then I switched to the 2003 Coupe-Roses Minervois which was on massive sale where I lived, presumably because no one knew what it was. Now I've got 1/2 a case of the 2003 Ch. Pesquie from the Rhone. As for my usual house white, it has been the Mason Pomelo--but I'm considering a switch!