The Cellar: Napa Valley Deals Under $20
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents more than 430 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. The Mission of the Napa Valley Vintners is to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley appellation and its wines.
The tasting featured, among other stellar wines, some great Sauvignon Blancs. My favorite under $20 representation was the 2010 St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc. St. Supery Vineyards & Winery is owned by the Skalli family of Southern France, who founded the winery after traveling through Napa in the 1970’s. The grapes for their 100% Sauvignon Blanc are sourced from their two vineyards - one in Rutherford at the heart of Napa Valley and the other, Dollarhide, in a serene corner of the region. This is a great wine with aromas of citrus fruit and lemon zest. On the palate, this stainless steel tank-fermented wine has tons of bright grapefruit flavors and acidity to boot.
Another great Sauvignon Blanc was Duckhorn’s 2011 release ($30). At Duckhorn they make their Sauvignon Blanc a bit differently. For starters, they blend in Semillon. In the 2011 vintage they blended 24% of Semillon, adding body and increasing the complexity of the wine. Instead of using stainless steel during the fermentation process, Duckhorn barrel-ferments 15% of the wine in oak casks and leaves the wine to rest on the dead yeast cells for 5 months before bottling it. The result is a wine with a lot more body and with flavors that ranges from citrusy to tropical with hints of herbs.
For me, one of the great surprises of the tasting was the $35, 2009 Pinot Noir from Cuvaison Estate. Founded in 1969, Cuvaison Estate Wines makes hand-crafted Napa Valley wines sourced from their two vineyards in Carneros and Mount Veeder. While I sometimes find Californian Pinot to be a little big and over-ripe, this Pinot Noir made from grapes are sourced from Cuvaison’s cool-climate Carneros vineyard, hits the mark for me. It strikes that perfect balance between light with bright fruit and spice, all wrapped into a dense and earthy blanket. Great stuff!
Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. You can also sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.
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