Summertime in a Glass reports: Excellent 2014 Harvest to bring Top-Quality California Sauvignon Blanc in 2015

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Harvest 2014 represented the third consecutive exceptional winegrape harvest in California. Sauvignon Blanc was no exception and although yields of Sauv Blanc were down slightly, the fruit was of very high quality suggesting top shelf wines available soon.

Summertime in a Glass

"One of the great things about ...California Sauvignon that we don’t have to wait long to enjoy...them. Many...can be in your glass in the spring or early summer!"

The 2014 California grape harvest ended early and bountifully and the outlook for California wines is notable for its quality and quantity, for the third straight year. Vintners and growers across the state gratefully extolled the gift of another excellent vintage, despite a continuing drought and August's south Napa earthquake, just as crush was getting underway. This especially holds true for California's Sauvignon Blanc harvest. As a “quick-turn white” wine, meaning it is a varietal that is often on the shelf within just a few months of harvest, many excellent 2014 Sauv Blancs will be available in time for spring and summer. Various winemakers around the state share their outlook on what to expect in 2015.

"The 2014 vintage was phenomenal for Wente Vineyards and Livermore Valley," exclaimed Karl Wente, fifth generation winemaker for the family winery. "We had outstanding color, the extractions were fantastic and we had great fruit character throughout. The lack of late-season rain and a long growing season helped ensure optimum fruit maturity."

In Arroyo Seco the Sauvignon Blanc harvest started on August 27th. Sara Moncrief, from the Arroyo Seco AVA reflected, "Sauv Blanc is unique in that the grapes at harvest typically taste the same or similar to the finished wine in the bottle". Michael Griva, AVA President and owner of Griva Vineyards described the 2014 vintage as "ideal". Arroyo Seco AVA is nearly 100% Musqué Clone which is known for its aromatics and muscat-like flavor profile. It is not the grassy herbaceous profile you find with many New Zealand Sauv Blancs.

In Sonoma County, Jamie Petersen, winemaker at Peterson Winery, reported that "the 2014 harvest of Sauvignon Blanc provided a healthy sized crop of fully ripe yet balanced grapes from our the Dry Creek Valley vineyard. A dry growing season was followed by optimal harvest conditions. The fruit and resulting wine shows the classic citrus, tropical and melon flavors our area is known for, with enough refreshing acidity to give it a dry and zesty finish. Right up there with the top harvests we’ve experienced." Jamie continued, "The wine is resting in barrel at the moment, coming together and settling for a winter bottling. We like the layer of depth that some time in barrels brings; we use mostly neutral French oak with a dash of new, and some Acacia wood, to enhance without overwhelming, and have a wine that can be ready to refresh when the heat of late spring arrives."

Mendocino County is well known for outstanding Sauvignon Blanc and McFadden Farms produces a very elegant and value priced Sauv Blanc at $16 per bottle. John Cesano, of McFadden Farm, says that Potter Valley, "is a micro climate within a micro climate. McFadden is located at the north end of Potter Valley, against the mountains that throw shade and collect wind, at high elevation where the Russian River begins. These four cooling influences allow extra hang time and flavor development without fear of raisining. An average 40 degree temperature plummet overnight brings high acid for structure and balance naturally integrated into the grape, making for stunning wines."

McFadden's upcoming 2014 McFadden Sauvignon Blanc achieves this description with rich honeydew melon, pear, and grapefruit notes.

Mark Clarin, winemaker at McGrail Vineyards in Livermore Valley is very hopeful for the bottling of the 2014 and the outlook for 2015. "I hope the December rains continue into the new year for the sake of all vineyards. That being said, I am very bullish on the 2015 Sauv Blanc vintage based on the great success this variety has had over the past 150 years here in the Livermore Valley.

Bryan Dias, Executive Director of Summertime in a Glass, a California Sauvignon Blanc Advocacy Group, enthused, “One of the great things about so many California Sauvignon Blanc bottlings is that we don’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of our favorite winery’s labor. Many will be in the bottle and can be in your glass in the first half of the year after harvest. Since 2014 was another excellent vintage in the Golden State, 2015 looks to be another winner for Sauv Blanc lovers – and it’s right around the corner!”

Sounds like a can't miss year for Sauv Blanc. Be on the lookout for these California wines well worth discovering!

About Summertime in a Glass: Summertime in a Glass (SIAG) is an advocacy and information group that seeks to promote, educate and entertain wine enthusiasts and the industry itself on the world of Sauvignon Blanc. We strive to do so by being informative, yet never too serious or dogmatic. Wine is fun and social. Sauvignon Blanc is known as a great food wine but many styles also make for great “porch wines.” This all means that it is meant to be shared and enjoyed, not pontificated!

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