- Featured in the March 2010 Silenus Vintners Wine Club
- Retailed for $35
This wine is a new-world conception of our mythical ideal old-world wine…a California wine with a spiritual connection to Friuli, Italy and Graves, France.
The wine is a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 18% Ribolla Gialla, 22% Semillon, and 5% Tocai Friulano. The Sauvignon Blanc brings a clean fresh citrusy acidity. The Ribolla Gialla gives a unique minerality, nuttiness, and structure to the blend. The Semillon contributes viscosity and the ripe fig and beeswax character that adds gravity and weight. The Tocai Friulano adds spicy aromatic notes.
The acidity and fruit expression is balanced by the rich lees character and the sweetness of the oak. There is interplay in the wine between lightness and richness, and focus and complexity. The Ribolla Gialla, with its weight and slight tannic grip, ties the wine together and brings a dimension of length and interest.
The fruit was very lightly whole-cluster pressed. The wine was barrel-fermented in 50% new Boutes barrels, and left of its lees, with occasional stirring until bottling – never racked. Three of the ten barrels went through natural malolactic fermentation. After nine months of elevage, sur lees, the wine was filtered, to prevent further malolactic fermentation, and then bottled.
- Steve Matthiasson, Proprietor & Winemaker
The three vineyards are all in the cool southern part of the Napa Valley.
The Sauvignon Blanc comes from Ryan’s Vineyard, which sits on a steak of gravel in the center of the valley floor. It is right in the path of the daily wind current that pulls up through the valley from the San Francisco Bay towards Calistoga. California native grasses are planted under the vines to compete for moisture and nutrients and encourage the roots to forage down deep in the gravelly soil. The strong Sauvignon Blanc (“white savage”) vines work hard to make intense flavors, and the cool breezy afternoons and evenings preserve the intense acidity.
The Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano are from Elsa’s Vineyard, in the mouth of the Napa’s Dry Creek canyon. The rocky fluvial soil and cool air drainage of the canyon work well with the variety. Ribolla Gialla is a 13th century variety from the Collio region of Italy and Slovenia. It is the indigenous grape of Friuli, and it is a passion that we share with our friends George and Elsa Vare, who introduced us to the variety. This is the only Ribolla vineyard that we know of in California.
The Semillon is from 60 -70 plus year old vines in the Yount Mill Vineyard in Yountville. They are head trained and dry farmed, and are so old and gnarly that in 2007 the sugar only reached 20 brix, helping to naturally keep the alcohol moderate.