Napa Sauvignon Blanc That Defies Expectation
“… Well, Grieve Family Wines Sauvignon Blanc is pretty damn good.
“This wine was different. Way different. The standard profile of Sauvignon Blanc — whether its from California, Chile, Argentina or New Zealand — recalls peach, lime and fresh-cut grass, with loads of acidity and a sharp, stunted finish. It can be wonderful at first sip, but it quickly gets old. More importantly (and here’s what informs my bias), it doesn’t feel like much of an adventure: where’s the deviation? Where’s the sense of place?
“This Sauvignon Blanc, however, deviated into wonderful new territory. Every sip revealed a new layer of complexity, all without sacrificing its Sauvignon Blanc-ness. Yes, the nose had traces of grass and lime, but also wildflowers, peach skin and hints of wet stone. These last two traits gave it a freshness and vitality which, frankly, too many Sauvignon Blanc lack. Rather than fatiguing the palate, it rejuvenated it. We drank it with dinner, and by the time we put the kids to bed, the bottle was empty. That was fast, I thought.
“The Lovall Valley might not be a household name, but it appears to be directly responsible for this wine’s greatness. It is a small area — a little over a mile long and half-a-mile wide — situated in between the towns of Napa and Sonoma. Technically, it is part of the Napa wine region, but you can only get there from Sonoma County. Ringed by hills, it is cooler than the rest of Napa, and a small yet reliable creek supplies water to the vineyards, which in turn extends the growing season. Since the valley traps cold air so well, the vineyards take longer to warm up each day, which lends the berries a slow-ripening goodness that is often missing from Napa’s Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, while some parts of California are preparing to harvest their Sauvignon Blanc in the coming weeks (it’s early August as I write this), Grieve Family Wines often doesn’t harvest their Sauvignon Blanc until October.
“And if there is one wine truth in my brain that is not a hardened, calcified prejudice, it is that wines from cooler climates always end up more complex and interesting. So maybe instead of reading that label as “Sauvignon Blanc” + “Napa,” I should just seek out “Lovall Valley” whenever I see it…”
See the full article on Opening a Bottle.