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French Wine Entrepreneurs Keep a Great American Tradition Alive

Discovering One of the Year’s Best Wine Finds

BY // 06.09.17

A wine I tasted yesterday was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable ones I have opened in a while. Bone dry, lovely minerality, and great acidity. We pulled it from the refrigerator, opened it, let it sit for five minutes, then poured. And drank.

I’m talking refreshing, a wine that makes you want to drink more, a wine aged sur lie, one that never comes into contact with oak, and one that went supremely well with a roast chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic, and thyme.

It was the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Ehlers Estate,  and I kid you not when I say it was refreshing. It’s a single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, from St. Helena (and for those who care to know, it’s 100 percent CCOF certified organic). No malolactic fermentation, all stainless steel, and a clean, crisp, bright, and lively beauty, at 13.2 percent alcohol.

When you first put your nose in the glass, get ready for subtle lemon and grapefruit, and perhaps a slight touch of honeysuckle. One word: integrity. This wine — mellow straw in color — has an honest, unpretentious bouquet.

Taste it, and that sense is confirmed. In the mouth, the body is impressive, full, solid. You know you are drinking a serious wine, but one that is spright, lively. (Therein, to me, lies the refreshing nature of it. You don’t get tired of drinking this one.)

As for flavor, the minerality is striking. One sip shows that. You’ll get some nice lemon notes, along with orchard fruit (peach primarily). It paired, as I wrote, with the chicken, but I’d gladly serve this with roasted asparagus, cheese, crab cakes, or goat cheese tarts.

The grapes were harvested between August 19 and August 24 in 2016, and it was bottled on February 6 (you do the math). This is 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, and worthy every cent of the $32 retail price.

Ehlers was founded in the late 1800s by Bernard Ehlers, and produced wine under the Bale Mill Winery label. It is now owned by Jean and Sylviane Leducq, French entrepreneurs and philanthropists. They have kept a great American legacy alive.

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