Little Black Dress Divalicious White 2011, California

Cost: $11

What: This is a fun, little wine that is perfect for summer sipping. And perfect for fall, winter or spring sipping.

Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Just straightforward, pleasant wine that you want to have over and over again. It is well made and well worth drinking.

The wine is overtly marketed to young women, the “millenials” who all winemakers want to snare. Little Black Dress has figured out how to please their target market, and maybe even snag a few of us old men. Starting with a couple of wines in 2006, the line has grown to 11 wines, all very approachable.

Some wine snobs might sneer at this tactic, but not every wine has to be complicated and layered. Sometimes simple is good. That’s especially true in the summer, when you don’t want to ponder all the intricacies of a fine wine. You just want something refreshing and often something that is food-friendly.

Little Black Dress Divalicious White.
Little Black Dress Divalicious White.

The Divalicious White and Divalicious Red score on both counts. The white blend has the crisp flavor of grapefruit and melon, with a touch a sweetness from Muscat. It has a beautiful floral aroma of jasmine and orange blossom and a zippy, refreshing acidity. The blend is 65% Pinot Grigio, 18% Muscat, 8% Chardonnay, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Riesling, 2% Viognier.

Pinot Grigio is extremely popular now, so it makes sense to have that the dominant grape in the blend. The Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling all add some body and crispness, and the Muscat gives it just a hint of sweetness. The red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Petite Sirah with small amounts of five other grapes, and it is also very tasty.

LBD says it wants to make unintimidating wines to introduce young adults to the world of wine, with the hope that this will lead to a lifelong journey of discovery. That strikes me as a good strategy.

Many of the wine drinkers of my generation started with simple, fruity wines before moving up to things like Lancer’s Rose, and Mateus Rose and simple Chianti in straw-covered bottles. We thought we were terribly sophisticated and often used the empty bottles as candle holders.

Later, as our tastes and budgets evolved, we moved onto more complicated and expensive wines. You can do that without abandoning the simple wines we started with.

Winery: The Little Black Dress story started in 2006 as a brand created by Brown-Forman Beverages to tap into the growing market for women wine drinkers. The label depicts an empty clothes hanger dangling from the “c” in the word Black, with a pair of stiletto heels in the bottom right corner.

It is supposed to evoke the image of the inexpensive essential in every woman’s wardrobe: the little black dress. The company said it took its name from the little black dress that shared their sense of style: “simply timeless, playfully elegant, and ready for anything at a moment’s notice.”

One of their taglines has been “Good taste is always in style.”

The campaign was an instant success with the winery offering an ever-increasing selection of classic, single-varietal styles. The Divalicious White and Red blends were introduced recently to add some complexity to the wines without completely abandoning the original premise of simplicity.

The winery also cemented its ties to young women by supporting several charities that fight breast cancer and support career development for disadvantaged women.

Two years ago the brand was sold to Chile’s premier wine company Vina Concha y Toro.

The talented winemaker behind the brand is still with the winery, Zidanelia “Z” Arcidiacono. She was born in Texas, raised in Argentina and has worked in wineries around the world. She says the success of the wine has been achieved by the art of balance and complexity.

Divalicious White is great with fruit and cheese.
Divalicious White is great with fruit and cheese.

Goes with: My wife Teri and I had Divalicious White as an appetizer, with cheese and fruit. It was a perfect fit. We loved the way the fruit flavors of the wine played off the peaches and cherries we had with several cheeses.

I also would serve this as an aperitif without food, with seafood, chicken or turkey or even some pork dishes. And it would make a delightful spritzer, mixed with some sparkling water.

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