Thursday, May 21, 2015

Time to Start Thinking About Sauvignon Blanc - Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley

As Spring hits peak bloom and Summer on the horizon it's time to start thinking of refreshing white wines and a good place to start is the signature grape of Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley: Sauvignon Blanc. This week I received samples from three wineries in this region and came away quite impressed. These were not your lemon grass kiwi style Sauvignon Blancs; instead they represented a richer and creamier Bordeaux style. The wines were presented through a #DCVSauvBlanc twitter tasting and the virtual feed featured Ed Sbragia of Sbragia Family Vineyards, Emmett Reed of Gustafson Family Vineyards, and Tim Bell of Dry Creek Vineyard. And for you foodies, the suggested pairing for the three was shellfish - oysters, crabs, scallops.

Dry Creek Vineyard was the first winery to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the valley, so it was suitable to start the tasting with their 2013 DCV3 Estate Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley ($25, 14.1%).  The winery has 16 acres of the grape planted in this estate vineyard, a small fraction of the 9,000 acres of Sauvignon Blanc that is planted in the valley. However, this small production yields a powerful wine. It starts with a citrus aroma, then a creamy mineral laced middle, and finally nice acids with a subtle spicy finish. The lift from the mid-palette was most impressive.

Next up was the Gustafson Family Vineyard 2014 Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($22, 14.1%). This wine includes a field blend of 20% Sauvignon Musque, a Sauvignon Blanc clone with more aromatic qualities. The floral and white fruit aromas are prevalent. The Gustafson estate is the highest of the three at 1800 feet consisting of rocky, red volcanic soil. The wine starts with a white fruit and spicy aroma, more spice and cream on palette, nice acids on the finish. This is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps the most complex of the trio. 

We finished with the Sbragia Family Vineyards 2014 Home Ranch Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc ($22). Home Ranch is located on the east side of Dry Creek Valley and has been farmed by the Sbragia family for decades. The father\son winemaking team of Ed and Adam Sbragia, with Ed the former winemaker and current consultant at Beringer Vineyards. The Home Ranch vineyard is a cooler site, close to the ocean which attracts the heat. Thus expect higher acidity and this wine finishes with acids galore. It starts with a strong lemon-honeysuckle aroma, followed by a slightly creamy middle.  And the tail stays around for an extended period.
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