At first it caught me off guard, but he explained further that he was a little concerned that the ‘Disneyland effect’ would take away from the foggy-goggled luster that most people have of the valley. It made perfect sense, and luckily I went into my trip understanding that wine is a ultimately a business, but I could imagine how it could let some people down.
Traveling up highway 29, it’s admittedly easy to get caught up in the mystique of it all. We even got roped into a wine club membership or that $100 bottle everyone justifies while tipsy and imagining retiring to a bungalow on a vineyard. Luckily for us, we stopped one afternoon at St. Supery Vineyards and met Nick, our tour guide thru essentially the entire lineup at St. Supery.
We became friends and would catch up for drinks or dinner when we’d visit the valley, but eventually lost touch when we moved back east.
Luckily thru this wine blog we were able to reconnect.
Even luckier for me, ‘ol Nick was now making his own wines…and damn good ones at that.
Obviously, I jumped at the chance when he offered to send me a sample to try, but in all honesty after having tasted a few ‘independent efforts’ at other friends’ wine making, I expected something that was drinkable but nothing that would compete with something that I’d actually pay money for in a store.
Instead, I got a Cabernet Sauvignon that kicks ass and is comparable to other $50+ Napa Cabs that I seek out and stock up on, as well as a *very* interesting Sauvignon Blanc that I loved.
As the summer months are upon us, I decided to break this out into two reviews – the first focusing on the Sauvignon Blanc to start…so here we go!
To me there are 3 categories of Sauvignon Blanc drinkers in my mind:
- Sancerre purists from Loire Valley, France
- Those who love the strong acidity and citrus of New Zealand
- The rounder, fuller, “grassier” interpretations of Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley
This wine is certainly not for those who worship at the alter of overpowering New Zealand astringency or Sancerre’s balance and lean-ness. However, this is a very smooth, well-integrated, citrus driven Sauvignon Blanc. I think that fan’s of Chardonnays would naturally gravitate towards this, as it has a creamy, almost buttery aspect to it. I actually suspect that it went thru malolactic fermentation in the bottle, but that’s more for us wine geeks to determine.
I’m a huge lover of oak-free Chardonnays, and this is done in a very similar style – embracing the fruit qualities and not hitting the butter or oak overdrive simply because it can.
As for the color and body – nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s a little paler than normal, but not by much. With that said, it’s not watery or ‘lite’ in any way. It’s got the viscosity you look for, just in a leaner style.
I think that this would be a great food wine – as it lower alchohol (13.1%) and acidic enough to cut thru things like lemon zest risotto w/ seared scallops, grilled bone-in chicken breast, or ANYTHING with goat cheese in it. It has the body and viscosity to stand alone, but just the right amount of acid/fruit to cut thru food and be a great pairing partner.
My guess is that this isn’t 100% Sauvignon Blanc either, but rather that it’s blended with some Semillion or Viognier – as it is extends past traditional Sauvignon Blanc characteristics, but in a good way.
All said and done – I was impressed when I didn’t actually expect to be. Nick’s the type of guy who you should never doubt – he’ll always be there when you need him and pull a rabbit out of his hat. I’m lucky that I met him, and this is a great wine as the summer approaches and you are looking for something to get you away from those heavy, oaky Chardonnays from the winter.
If you don’t believe me, then just read this article from the Napa Valley Register about Nick and his journey with Pushback – or call him yourself, as his number is listed on every bottle: (707) 331-0644!
As much as I loved this Sauvignon Blanc, I *really* loved his Cabernet Sauvignon…and but that is another post (soon)!