Several weeks ago I spent a few days in California, visiting Central Coast wineries and tasting. At one lunch, which paired wines with sushi and sashimi, a 2005 Sauvignon Blanc was poured. It was a profound expression of the varietal, and it had aged with grace and profundity (I’ll write more about this wine, and the lunch, in another story). What’s more, it married wonderfully with its food course, which was sea bream with marinated kelp and yuzu.
I mention the 2005 Sauvignon Blanc because yesterday I opened another bottle, but this one was a 2016, and I chose it with a direct comparison to older vintages in mind. It was a Sauvignon Blanc from Gamble Family Vineyards, and the tasting was both informative and pleasurable.
We opened this 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) in the early evening, and it was chilled to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit when we first tasted it. Initial impressions: on the nose were lemon, apricot, a hint of honeysuckle (these aromas increased as the wine warmed, which is something to keep in mind, because many people drink their white wines at temperatures that are too cold). A taste summoned forth these adjectives: crisp, bright, fresh. This wine carries an intriguing minerality, and possesses a satisfying, solid mouthfeel.
Two of the clones here originated in the Loire Valley — the Sauvignon Musque Clone and the 530 Clone — and two from Bordeaux, the Preston Clone and Clone 316. This, along with varied harvest times (seven different harvestings between August 10 and August 17), gives the wine a prodigious complexity; the earlier picks contributed a fine acidity, and the later harvests provided a serious depth of flavor … the balance here was definitely alive.
As for fermenting, 25 percent of the vintage spent six months in stainless steel, while 75 percent was in barrel for the same amount of time — the time in oak resulted in some spice and deeper floral notes. Alcohol is at 13.1 percent, and 2,190 cases were produced. Jim Close is the winemaker.
We continued tasting, now at 55 Fahrenheit, and added some food to the mix. Shrimp sautéed with butter and garlic is one dish you would enjoy with this Sauvignon Blanc, and that’s what we had. A salad with goat cheese is another option. (Of course, drinking it on its own is a fine choice, but the shrimp added to its complexity.)
Expect to pay around $25 for this bottle, which you can find at your favorite wine merchant or directly from the winery.
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