If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you might know that every once in a while I like to parachute in and write a review of a Sauv Blanc that really floats my boat. Moreover, I like to share a wine that I find surprising or different in some fashion (and in a good way!) Well, that was the case with this one – the 2015 Rombauer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley!
It was not what I expected. Of course, as most of you are probably aware, Rombauer is known for pretty big wines and never being shy with the oak (of course, including the Chardonnay). That, and they have also not added much to the portfolio, as far as different varietals go over the years. And, why not? They’ve done well for themselves. As I joked with winemaker Richie Allen, who took over the reins several years ago, “you got the keys to the car and you didn’t crash the car!” He kept right along with what has made the winery successful and consistent since they opened in the early 80’s.
Well, Richie didn’t crash the car, but he certainly made a hard left turn with this wine! It’s the first new varietal in over 25 years and the first white wine they have done since dropping their famous Chardonnay in the early years of operation.
The wine is a nice light tone of yellow with hints of green tint in appearance. The nose has touches of grass and boxwood as well as aromas of hard candy, white stone fruit, and lemon merengue.
The grapes were picked over several dates and this is apparent in the complexity of the wine. It is not a “one-note” Sauvignon Blanc. The wine demonstrates great balance. It does not “die” in the mid-palate as many Sauv Blancs can do. This is most certainly aided by the fact that 10% percent of the juice was barrel fermented in neutral French oak and then aged for 3 months before being blended back into the other 90%, which was all stainless steel. This serves to also give the wine a nice mouthfeel and some weight.
The palate has notes of lime, grapefruit, white nectarine, and green apple candy. There is some slight pineapple and pear that linger on the finish along with a hint of white pepper. There is a pleasant minerality to the whole thing and it enjoys balanced acidity that is long and crisp, as you would hope, but not too long or overpowering!
Certainly, this is an excellent food wine – very seafood and shellfish friendly (especially if those dishes involved some citrus in the preparation.) Thai food and other fresh Southeast Asian fare are a great match as well. See our delicious pairing crafted just for this wine by our Resident Chef, Julie Hoskins – raw oysters with key lime mignonette here…
This is a wonderful Sauv Blanc that demonstrates both quality fruit and craftsmanship in approach. It is also exemplary where, in the right hands, Napa shows that it is an ideal place for the varietal in the New World. Well worth the $24 or so.
Learn more about Rombauer Vineyards and their Sauvignon Blanc program here…
Executive Director, Summertime in a Glass