The grapes for our Sauvignon Blanc come from the Lovall Valley, a hidden gem nestled in the Mayacamas Mountains straddling the border of Napa and Sonoma Counties. The elevation (650 feet), the clay-loam and ancient marine soils, and the area’s coldest temperatures provide ideal conditions for growing Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2021 growing season was off to a dry and chilly start with reports of sporadic early season frost damage throughout the valley. The winter rains were well below the norm for the Napa Valley leaving many irrigation ponds dry before the growing season started. As the growing season passed from Spring to Summer the average Growing Degree Days were below the 2020 average, but there were six heat spikes that saw the temperature rise above the 100° mark.
The biggest challenge from the vintage was the lack of water for the vines. With low carbohydrates reserves and lack of water, the vines had a hard time developing full canopies, which meant that the vines struggled to ripen the fruit and the final crop levels were below average. Despite the challenges, the wines show deep concentrated color and complex flavors. The tannin levels in the grapes were higher than we have seen in the past, which meant that during fermentation we had to take care not to extract too much of the tannins.
The 2021 season ended with an atmospheric river that dumped 9 inches of rain in a 48-hour period. It was good timing, as all our grapes had been picked by the time the rains started.
The grapes were picked at night, brought to the winery and whole cluster pressed, and given four hours of skin contact, then cold settled for 24 to 48 hours. Then the grapes were barrel fermented in one-third new French oak, one-third in neutral oak, and one-third in stainless steel barrels. The combination of fermentation vessels allowed bright fruit character to shine through while fully integrating complexity and texture. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation and was stirred every other week for four months prior to racking and bottling in May. It was sterile filtered at bottling to keep the wine’s vibrancy and to keep the wine from undergoing malolactic fermentation in bottle.