My memories of John Wobig are mostly of him in a white lab coat, working at the hospital where my mother was a nurse in the small, rural town of Valentine in north central Nebraska. John seemed tall to me then, but I was a child, and he seemed always to have a gentle, toothless smile upon his face, his eyes twinkling behind his glasses. John was always nice to me when I would walk up to the large brick building to see my mother, and on the few occasions when I visited his home; his daughter Jamian was a classmate and long-time friend of mine from elementary school, and his son Jake ran on the cross country team with me for one year, when Jake was a senior in high school and I was a freshman. I’m afraid I lost touch with Jake long ago, but last weekend Jamian, now a county attorney, was in town for a meeting, and she brought me this bottle of wine made by her father.
Of course, I’m always slightly wary of tasting wine in front of someone with a stake in it (what if it isn’t any good?), and Jami didn’t insist, so I paired our meal that night with a Pinot Noir I knew was excellent and set this bottle aside for another time. Then a few nights later, as I was cooking, I got a wild hair and pulled it from the refrigerator to pair with cheese and the task of cooking dinner, and to put it bluntly I couldn’t have been more impressed with this wine.
If I may make a sweeping generalization, most white wines produced in Nebraska carry a lot of body and are generally quite sweet. This, the first white wine John has made from his own LaCrescent grapes grown by the Minnechaduza Creek that runs past his property, is as crisp and light as any I’ve ever had from this region. A beautiful pale golden hue that reminds me of a lemon drop, it has a big nose of zesty citrus laced with some white floral notes. Then on the palate, pronounced minerality, terrific acidity, more citrus flavors, some tart green apple, and hints of green grass abound. Far more crisp than most Nebraska whites, yet with a hint more body than a truly light bodied wine, blind I would have guessed it to be a hearty Pinot Gris or perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc. I enjoyed it a great deal as I prepared dinner that night, pairing it later with my stir fry, and I’m quite confident saying that I would have loved this wine whether I knew the winemaker from my childhood or not.
The 2015 LaCrescent white wine from Chaduza Creek may be the single best white wine I’ve ever tasted from Nebraska, perhaps even from the Midwest. If it isn’t, it’s in the upper echelon of my personal favorites without a doubt. The only bad thing is that John made only about 30 bottles of it, so I probably won’t be able to find another one anytime soon. That said, I’ll keep my eyes out. 95 points on my scale, and I highly recommend it.