Sunday, December 13, 2009
Destruction Level Sauvignon Blanc from Wrath
Over the past decade, we have seen a tremendous evolution among Californian white wines, from heavily oaked and full malolactic wines, to wines of more finesse, structure and complexity. For being the most planted green grape variety, the most notable change has been seen with Chardonnay, but the search for finesse is an overall winning concept among Californian white wine makers. One of the true winners in this is Sauvignon Blanc, for which we have seen a great evolution since early 90s. Over the state, there are now loads of crisp, aromatic, and elegant wines of Sauvignon Blanc to be found. Most of them show notes of grapefruit rather than flavors of gooseberries, asparagus and bell pepper, and few of them taste like the wines of New Zealand or Loire. But there are some exceptions, and perhaps the most French styled of them all, comes from the recent established Wrath Wines in Arroyo Seco, just across the road from the higher regarded appellation Santa Lucia Highland (from 2010, their estate vineyard will be included in Santa Lucia Highlands).
2008 Destruction Level Sauvignon Blanc / 90 p
At first I really thought I had a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé in my glass, there were so much of cool climate and limestone mineral notes on the nose. It didn’t really remind me of grapefruit or sweeter tropical fruits, more like grass, gooseberries and minerals, and with its intensity it wasn’t really that far from the great wines of the late Didier Daggenau. On the palate, it is as intense as on the nose, and it shows a great complexity with a for California quite rare balance of body, texture, fruit (not to sweet), acidity (which is high, very high indeed), and mineral notes. Also it lingers in the mouth for quite a while, and it is really a delicious wine.
The wine is mainly made of Sauvignon Blanc of the Musqué clone, but there is also around five per cent of the Mount Eden clone of Chardonnay in the blend. To get to the perfect balance of crisp acidity and ripe fruit flavors and body, the harvest is made in two steps, one early at 20-21 Brix, and one later at 23 Brix. Grapes are mainly sourced from the estate San Saba Vineyard, they are cold soaked for 24 hours before they are gently pressed. The juice is then fermented in a combination of stainless steel and neutral French oak barrels. Drink it 2009-2011.