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2012 Voss Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

Voss Vineyards makes Sauvignon Blanc from a single, organically-farmed vineyard in the Yountville AVA. In past  years, the wine has been made solely in stainless steel. In 2012, however, they experimented with a little bit of wood. Ten percent of the juice was fermented in a combination of new and used French oak. The result is a softer wine with richer body, but no obvious oak flavors.

The 2012 Voss Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley has a gentle nose featuring sweet grapefruit, citrus blossoms and notes of tropical fruit. On the palate, body is medium to medium-plus with a soft, creamy mouthfeel. The flavors are a very attractive melange of sweet and sour fruit: sweet grapefruit, lemon, pineapple and other tropical fruit. This is not an in-your-face Sauvignon Blanc, nor is it austere and mineral-driven. It’s the Sauvignon Blanc next door—friendly, pretty in an understated way, and easy to spend time with. At just 12% alcohol it’s a relatively innocent pleasure too. Drink now through 2014. Recommended+.

2012 Voss Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
vossau main 0
Rating: Recommended+

Drink: Now through 2014
Bottling Date: January 20, 2013

Closure: Screwcap
Production: 2,500 cases
Retail Price: $18.00

Winemaker: Michael Lancaster

Origin: Yountville AVA, Napa Valley
Fermentation: 90% stainless, 10% new and neutral French oak barrels
Aging: none
Alcohol: 12.0%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: not required

Temperature: 50º - 54º F

Food Pairings: white fish (grilled, pan-seared or steamed), Salad Nicoise, Tom Ka Gai soup

The wine above was received as a sample for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2010 Quivira Refuge Sauvignon Blanc

Though the 2011 has just been released, the 2010 Quivira Refuge Sauvignon Blanc is holding up wonderfully. I poured a bottle the other day as part of a blind, panel tasting of Northern California Sauvignon Blanc varietals. The 2010 Quivira Refuge was our unanimous favorite. quivira_refuge_2011

A quick sniff told us all that the wine was made in the style of Fumé Blanc (or Bordeaux Blanc). There is oak-aged complexity in the aromas. It’s simultaneously pretty and bold with scents of white peach, dry grass, oak and spice in the fore. Grapefruit, white pepper and chive add interest.

In the mouth, it’s very fresh and flavorful with medium-plus body and some texture from sur lie aging. Spice, white flowers and grapefruit pith embellish the core of ripe peach. Best now through 2013. Highly Recommended

2010 Quivira Refuge Sauvignon Blanc
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2013
Release Date: October 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 250 cases
Retail Price: $28.00

Winemaker: Hugh Chappelle
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: biodynamic vineyards in Dry Creek Valley AVA, Sonoma County
Fermentation: Begun in stainless steel and then transferred to acacia and neutral French oak barrels, no malolactic fermentation
Aging: 6 months sur lie in acacia and neutral French oak barrels
Alcohol: 14.2%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not recommended
Temperature: 52º - 56º F
Food Pairings: White fish, braised in butter and white wine, on creamed potatoes

The wine above was provided by the winery for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2011 Peltier Station “Hybrid” Sauvignon Blanc

Lodi is well known as a source for good value red wines and for old-vine Zinfandel. Deservedly so. However, Lodi also delivers a lot of good wines from outside those categories. There are delicious and varietally-correct made from varieties uncommon in the United States, such as Uvaggio Vermentino, Alta Mesa Verdelho and a range of Iberian-varietal wines from Bokisch.

Not all of the good stuff comes from under-the-radar varieties though. The 2011 Peltier Station “Hybrid” Sauvignon Blanc is fine expression of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s crisp and offers a range of fruit flavors. It’s even low enough in alcohol to make an afternoon of backyard sipping relatively guilt free.

Peltier Station winemaker JC van Staden’s started in the wine business in his native South Africa and his 2011 reminds me very much of South African Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is focused on tart fruit: gooseberry, grapefruit and pineapple with side notes of peach and mineral. The palate is medium-bodied and bone dry with flavors of grapefruit and lime.

HY11SB

This isn’t a complicated wine and some Sauvignon Blanc fans might prefer a bit of oak or more ripe fruit. But I find it pleasingly zesty with a generous, dry finish. It’s an excellent choice for hot summer afternoons and fresh vegetables from your garden. And it's especially hard to beat at $8. Drink now through 2013. Recommended.

2011 Peltier Station “Hybrid” Sauvignon Blanc

Rating: Recommended
Drink: now - 2013
Release Date: March 2012
Closure: Screwcap
Production: 1,200 cases
Retail Price: $8.00

Winemaker: JC van Staden
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: Lodi AVA
Fermentation: 24 hour, anaerobic cold soak on skins after crush, fermented at 50 degrees for 15 days in stainless steel
Alcohol: 12.7%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not recommended
Temperature: 50º - 54º F
Food Pairings: Green salads, salad nicoise, fish tacos

The wine above was purchased for review.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Voss Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

Napa Valley is home to dozens of excellent Sauvignon Blanc wines. The grape ripens fully there in most years. Napa Valley’s winemakers can choose when to harvest based on the fruit character and level of acidity they prefer, rather than out of necessity at the end of a short growing season. The wines rarely exhibit those notes of bell pepper, tomato leaf and cooked asparagus that many people find off-putting in Sauvignon Blanc from other regions.

Some of the best Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc are modeled after dry white Bordeaux. Often called Fumé Blanc, the wines are aged in French oak to soften and gain complexity. As in Bordeaux, the addition of Semillon is common, providing further palate weight. To me, the pinnacle of this style of wine in Napa Valley is the Robert Mondavi Winery Sauvignon Blanc I Block To Kalon Vineyard.

More and more, one can find delicious Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc wines that are unoaked. Most are fermented cold in stainless steel tanks to maintain as much fresh fruit and acidity as possible. Lately, some winemakers opt for cement tanks instead of stainless for a touch of softness on the palate. As with the barrel-aged wines, extended skin or lees contact can add complexity and texture. Napa Valley is a warm growing region though, even the unoaked, single-variety wines can have medium-plus body and alcohol.

09-voss-sauv-blancThe 2009 Voss Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent version of the fresh, unoaked style. However, it manages to deliver a complex range of flavors and clean yet satisfying mouthfeel with an alcohol content of just 11.5%. It’s a great achievement and, not surprisingly, a favorite among local wine experts demonstrating the potential of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

The 2009 Voss is a very pale lemon-green in the glass, almost colorless. The nose has plenty of personality though, with gooseberry, guava, lime, grapefruit, jalapeno and chalky mineral. The palate's dry and medium-bodied with light texture from skin contact. Flavors include crisp green apple, gooseberry, guava, grapefruit, and lime pith. It finishes long and zesty.

Voss’ Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile wine. Use it as an apertif, a poolside sipper, a party quaffer or as a partner to deep fried seafood or green salads. It will be best when young, so drink it now through 2012. Highly Recommended.

2009 Voss Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2012
Release Date: February, 2011

Closure: Screwcap
Production: 3,900
Retail Price: $18

Winemaker: Michael Lancaster
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: Rutherford, Napa Valley
Fermentation: 24-hour skin contact, cold stainless steel fermentation with selected yeasts
Aging: Unoaked

Alcohol: 11.5%

The wine above was provided by for tasting by the San Francisco Wine School during it’s class on Napa Valley.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Lewis Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

Lewis Cellars is a family-owned and operated Napa Valley winery. It was founded in 1992 by former Indy Car driver Randy Lewis and his wife Debbie. Their son, Dennis, now works at the winery as well. The wines are made by Brian Mox, formerly of Pine Ridge Winery, Laird and Etude. The winery is not open for visits, even by appointment.

Lewis Cellars’ offerings included Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and a few blends. The grapes are sourced from vineyards around Napa Valley and Russian River Valley. In general, the wines are Napan in style with bold, rich fruit and ample weight. However, they are well-structured rather than over-the-top in opulent. Total production is about 9,000 cases and the wines often sell out quickly.

Lewis Cellars has just released their 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, but you can still find some of the 2009 in the market and it’s worth trying. The nose starts with a fetching mix of white peach and lime accented by touches of vanilla and oak. After a few minutes in the glass, dried lemon grass and delicate floral notes emerge. The palate is is zesty. Mouthwatering lime is met by white peach and just a bit of tannin, bringing peach skin texture. The finish is long and clean.

The 2009 Lewis Cellars Sauvignon Blanc drinks very well on it’s own, but will pair well with slightly oily fish and fried seafood. The acidity is high enough to take on fresh tomatoes and salads of fruit or herb. Drink now through 2012. Highly Recommended.

2009-Lewis-Cellars-Sauvignon-Blanc2009 Lewis Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2012
Release Date: August, 2010
Production: 275 cases

Closure: Cork
Retail Price: $37

Winemaker: Brian Mox
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley

Vinification: Fermented in stainless steel and French oak, no malolactic fermentation

Alcohol: 14.5%

The wine above was purchased for review.

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Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.