In 2005, a warm late winter led to early bud break, but cool, rainy weather during spring set back vine development. Unseasonably cool temperatures continued throughout the summer, which slowed ripening of the fruit and extended the harvest season. As is often the case in California, however, classic Indian summer weather arrived in September and prevailed throughout October, ensuring a successful conclusion to the growing season. Because the season began early and was relatively cool, the resulting wines have impressive flavor concentration at moderate alcohol levels.
Our 30th anniversary vintage is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Musqué, and 5% Sémillon. Sauvignon Musqué is an especially aromatic clone of Sauvignon Blanc, while Sémillon is blended with Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux to produce the region’s wonderful dry wines. The grapes for this vintage came primarily from our Napa Valley estate vineyards in Rutherford, as well as from vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga to the north. These sites provide fruit of great character, enabling us to produce a crisp, full-bodied, complex Sauvignon Blanc. In 2005, the grapes were picked between August 26th and September 24th.
We harvest our Sauvignon Blanc grapes at night to ensure the freshest, highest-quality juice. Harvesting at cool temperatures maximizes desirable flavors in the grapes and ensures an ideal balance of sugars and acids. After the grapes are brought to the winery, we immediately press the whole clusters to minimize the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. In 2005, 13% of the juice was barrel-fermented in old French oak barrels (to avoid the extraction of new oak character), while the balance was tank-fermented. After fermentation completed, 75% of the wine aged in two-year-old French oak barrels for an average of four months, while 25% remained in tank and never saw oak. The richer barrel-fermented and barrel-aged lots displayed strong Sauvignon Blanc character without aggressive herbal notes, while the tank-fermented and tank-aged lots contributed an intensely fruity character.
Our 2005 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, rich, vivacious white wine with bright grapefruit, lime, melon and hay aromas and concentrated kiwi, citrus and green apple flavors. Its refreshingly flinty, mineral-y finish makes it a mouthwatering apèritif wine as well as a fine accompaniment to a wide range of seafood, poultry, vegetarian and salad dishes. It will provide great drinking pleasure over the next 1-2 years.