The grapes for our 2006 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc came primarily from our estate vineyards in Rutherford, as well as from outstanding vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga. These sites provide superb fruit of great character, enabling us to produce a crisp, full-bodied, complex Sauvignon Blanc. We further enhance the wine’s complexity by blending in small amounts of Sauvignon Musqué, which contributes lovely floral aromas, and Sémillon, which enriches the mid-palate, softens the wine’s acidity and adds a pleasing citrus tone.
Despite all the talk about global warming, 2006, like 2005, was a long, cool growing season in Napa Valley. A wet winter and spring delayed bud break by several weeks, but fine weather arrived in June followed by a record-setting heat wave in July. Cool weather returned, however, in August and with few exceptions continued throughout the harvest season, fostering slow, even ripening of our Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which were harvested between August 28th and September 28th. Although we recorded the lowest average Brix (sugar levels) of the past three vintages, the fruit displayed the intense, concentrated flavors our vineyards customarily deliver.
We harvest 100% of our Sauvignon Blanc grapes at night to ensure they arrive at the winery in the best possible condition. Night-harvesting at cool temperatures preserves the vibrant flavors of our grapes and fosters an ideal balance of sugars and acids. After the grapes arrive at the winery, we immediately press the whole clusters to maximize varietal flavors while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. Dry ice is used in the receiving tank to prevent oxidation of the delicate juice, and cold-settling further optimizes varietal aromas and flavors. In 2006, 17% of the juice was barrel-fermented in neutral French oak barrels – to avoid the extraction of new oak character – while the balance was tank-fermented. After fermentation completed, 82% of the wine aged in one, two and three-year-old French oak barrels for an average of four months, to provide roundness to the final blend, while 18% of the lots, selected for their particularly expressive aromas and bright citrus fruit flavors, were fermented and aged exclusively in tank to contribute an intensely fruity character to the blend.
Our 2006 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, rich and vivacious white wine, displaying enticing grapefruit, gooseberry, kiwi, green apple and hay aromas. On the palate, its rich, full-bodied, green apple and citrus flavors, accented by notes of peach and varietal spice, are balanced by crisp natural acidity and a refreshingly flinty, mineral-tinged finish. A mouthwatering apèritif, this distinctive, flavorful Napa Valley wine also makes a fine accompaniment to a wide range of vegetarian, fish, poultry and salad dishes. Enjoy it over the next 1-2 years.