Our Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc is barrel fermented for texture and complexity, and is more Loire in style as opposed to California. What this means is that I’m looking for more acidity, minerality and true Sauvignon Blanc varietal character. The texture is bright and grainy, and balanced with richness and creaminess from new oak and sur lie aging in barrels. The aromas and flavors leap from the glass exuding dried apricot, Crenshaw melon, dried hay with a touch of Bergamot orange. This SB is creamy rich on the entrance through the mid-palate and extends to a very long finish. The weighty mid-palate is balanced nicely with bright acidity. Try drinking at 45f-50f.
After a search to find a source for our beloved Sauvignon Blanc I found two vineyards that provide the essential fruit for our favorite white. I am a huge fan of the Sauvignon Musque’ clone and located a vineyard high in the mountains above the Dry Creek Valley floor. Very concentrated and spicy, the Musque’ from the Grist Vineyard is exceptionally rich and exotic with great length. For the Sauvignon Blanc Wente #1 Clone I teamed up with John MacCloed of Indian Springs Vineyard in the heart of Sonoma Valley. The rich and weighty mouth feel, and dried apricot and hay compliment the spicier notes of the Musque’ clone. Our SB is more likened to a Pouilly Fumé with heaps of minerality, spicy mango and dried apricot fruit and green apple are typical.
As fans of the late Didier Dagueneau of Pouilly Fumé and his wines, we choose to barrel ferment our SB. While tank ferments make nice fruity wines, we like the texture and complexity we achieve with barrel fermentation. We inoculated the individual barrels with two different yeasts one day after we whole-cluster pressed the grapes as they came into the winery. We preserved the natural acidity, which is abundant, by not undergoing any malo-lactic fermentation. We increased the use of new French Oak barrels to 25%. We also utilize large puncheons for 50% of the lot. This leads to less oxidation while maintaining the texture from barrel fermentation. We stirred weekly until December, and bottled in February.