Monday, April 5, 2010

Cellarmistress Tastes Live in #SauvBlanc Heaven...

I'm sighing... It's not a relief sigh but more like a happy sigh as I think back to a recent event I took part in. One of the best things to ever happen to the Twitter world of wine is the onset of live tasting events. I've done many and you've probably read all about them. But the interesting thing is the sudden popularity of a monthly event that happens every first Thursday evening. Spearheaded by St. Supery Winery's social media guru, Rick Bakas, these monthly events are just what the doctor ordered! Each event is a chance for anyone out there in the wine world to rub elbows (in a cyber kind of way) with winemakers, wine bloggers, winery owners and other fellow wine lovers from all over while enjoying a common wine varietal. Back in March, the wine varietal was Sauvignon Blanc and the evening was sheer madness! The love of this varietal spread across the Twitter air waves like wildfire! I myself sampled two very unique and distinctive bottles of Sauvignon Blanc that evening and I fell in love with both of them... To me, there is nothing more special than a bottle of wine that is handcrafted from start to finish. These following two bottles are fine examples of this.

The first of the two I sampled was the 2008 Selene Hyde Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Created by consulting Napa Valley winemaker Mia Klein and her partner Tracy Hall, this was a wine like nothing I'd experienced before! I met both these ladies through social media and they've become friends and I'm convinced there is greatness ahead for them! I received a few samples of their wines including the above mentioned Sauvignon Blanc and I am so excited to be talking about it! I've long known about Mia Klein. As an avid reader of Wine Spectator magazine, I've read all about her winemaking and they have raved about her!

When I say this wine was like no other, I mean it in the sense that it took me completely by surprise. I've sampled more Sauvignon Blanc that anyone could imagine and the style of this one was very unique. The Hyde Vineyard is located in the Carneros region of southern Napa. This gives the grapes a warmer climate to grow and contributing to the unique taste of this wine. "Round" would be a good word to describe it. Full mouthfeel, lush tropical fruit--guava, meyer lemon, honeydew melon--slight crisp acidity but very mellow, creamy vanilla finish and just lovely. Yet there is no malolactic fermentation involved. (For those of you who do not know what that is--it is a secondary fermentation that causes the wine's malic acid to convert to a softer lactic acid, giving it a creamy, more round taste.) Hmmm...Interesting. So where does the roundness come from? They used 30% French oak barrels and left the wine on the lees to gain complexity. Nice touch! I highly recommend this wine. $27.00. It can be purchased on the Selene Wines website at An added note, these two ladies handcraft their wines at Laird Winery in Napa. I can't wait to meet them in person on my next voyage out there... They keep teasing me that if I come visit, they will put me to work during harvest! Maybe I will be picking Sauvignon Blanc grapes this Fall! What a hoot!! Now that's a challenge I would welcome!

The second bottle I sampled was the 2008 Gamble Family Vineyards Gamble Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Sent to me as a sample by their marketing director, Elsbeth Sarao, (another social media friend I met last year), this bottle really meant a lot to me. I had been trying to sample it since last Summer. Elsbeth and I were trying to meet up during the Wine Bloggers Conference and I just could not make it work due to the crazy bus schedules of our Napa Day excursion. I owe her a lot because without her, I never would have known about the Gamble Family Ranch. I've decided it will be one of the first places I plan to visit on my next trip to Napa Valley.

Owner Tom Gamble's philosophy is a simple one. He is first and foremost, a farmer. He and winemaker Jim Close handcraft a small amount of cases (roughly 4000) a year total production of all of the wines they make. Tom was given a legacy and does his best to represent his dream. Each bottle is special. The vineyard for this particular Sauvignon Blanc is located in Yountville, 12 acres of land that sees warm days and cool nights. What does this mean for the wine? Notes of tropical fruits and a whole lot of citrus! Juicy and delicious--pineapple, lemons, mango, and more pineapple. Bursting with big fruit and very crisp acidity on the finish. The perfect accompaniment for summertime sipping on the deck. Just heavenly and delicious. I could spend many lazy afternoons enjoying this wine! It is available from their website at $28.00. I can't wait to tour Gamble Family Vineyards and do a private tasting with Elsbeth. It will be very special to me.

I would like to thank Mia Klein, Tracy Hall and Elsbeth Sarao for choosing me to represent them during this event. And ladies, I WILL make it out to Napa Valley this year and it will be an honor to visit with you and learn more about the craft, the land and the vision...

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