2016 Cuvée Blanc
Dry Creek Valley
SEPTEMBER 6,9,16, 2016
64% VERMENTINO, 27% GRENACHE BLANC, 9% PICPOUL 2016 was another excellent vintage for all of our white grapes, and it really shows in this CB. Vermetino provides fruit and aromas, Grenache Blanc mineral flavors and texture, and Picpoul is all about crisp citrus character. The notion of a Dry Creek Valley white wine that is suitable with raw oysters still blows my mind. It signals a new style of California white wine, rendering sweet, barrel-fermented Chardonnays passé. We are suckers for high acid, dry, un-oaked white wines. Aren’t you?
2016 was a fairly normal growing season after three vintages of drought. A cool August really slowed the ripening of our grapes and contributed to higher than normal acidity in the wines. We harvested Vermentino September 6th. The Grenache Blanc and Picpoul were picked September 9th and September 16th. We usually harvest our whites between 21.5 and 22 brix level sugar.
In 2004, after tasting through several lots of white Rhône varietal wines at Nova Vine Nursery, we chose to plant Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, and Vermentino. All three of these varieties are native to the Mediterranean areas of Europe, and as such, tend to retain natural acidity and mineral character in warmer climates. Vermentino is the white of both Sardinia and Liguria in Italy. Grenache Blanc is one of the key components to Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc and the white wine from Spain’s Priorat. Picpoul is often called ‘Muscadet of the Languedoc’ because of its high acidity. We now have almost two acres planted to these three varieties.
The grapes are de-stemmed, pressed and sent to tank where the juice is allowed to settle for 24 hours prior to fermentation. We ferment our whites using indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks and concrete eggs at temperatures below 70 degrees to retain bright aromas. Concrete tanks offer some of the oxidative benefits of oak without imparting wood flavor. We prevented this wine from going through malolactic fermentation thereby preserving the bright natural acidity in this steely white.