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Bottle Size: 1.5L
Outspoken as I am about my passion for Pinot Noir, I too rarely praise my favorite white wine – Sauvignon Blanc. Like Pinot Noir, this versatile varietal is a food lover’s wine, complementing a fascinating spectrum of flavors and cuisines. I’m gratified to have located two exceptional Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in the Russian River Valley where plantings of this grape variety are scarce.
Both small, hillside vineyards are over twenty-five years old and farmed by proud, attentive growers. Cohen Vineyard was the sole origin of grapes for my 2001 and 2002 vintages. This year I also included Hopkins Ranch, the source of grapes for my first Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc in 1979. I barrel fermented entirely sur lies, using a small proportion of new, elegant French oak from Tonnellerie Cadus. The wine developed a deep richness during its time in barrel as I practiced traditional bâtonnage, stirring the lees twice weekly.
The wine’s aromas are fresh and generous: honeysuckle, lemongrass and honey. In the mouth this Sauvignon Blanc is smooth and round with an appealing backbone of lively acidity. Beautifully balanced with a long, crisp finish, this is a tasteful choice for Thai spring rolls with peanut sauce or perhaps saffron scallops with fresh peas and cream.
As a young winemaker in the 1970s, Sauvignon Blanc was not my first choice among varietals. Therefore the challenge in making my first Sauvignon Blanc in 1979 was to create a wine I could personally enjoy.
Arriving at the style we produce today took many years to refine. Barrel fermentation, lees-stirring regimes, inclusion of the Sauvignon Musqué clone in the blend, French oak selection and strains of special yeast were all areas of experimental focus. My aim has been to elevate the varietal to the stature it deserves, as one of the two great white wines of the world. The result has been lauded as a stunning wine — unique among its peers. The translucent, aurora-gold hue of this wine predicts what’s to come in the glass.
Mouthwatering and luscious, its aroma overflows with tree-ripened fruit — nectarine, quince, peach and Fuji apple — as well as a hint of floral perfume and tropical notes of ripe, juicy pineapple, passion fruit, papaya and mango. Sophistication has come early for this wine with a strong impression of developing minerality. In the mouth, it’s round, lush and vibrantly balanced across the palate. Richness and weight counterbalance bright acidity supported by flavors of tangerine, lemon zest, candied orange peel and sweet pink grapefruit. The finish is luxurious, lingering on well beyond any rational expectation.
I composed a refreshing Chicken Noodle Salad one Sunday to share with my husband, Ken. The bounty of our garden supplied the vegetables, our olive trees the oil and our cellar the wine. Enjoy with crusty French bread and a chilled glass of 2016 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc.