- Featured in the March 2013 Silenus Vintners Wine Club
Highly allocated and only available for sale through Club purchases; reordering is very limited.
This wine is our new-world conception of a mythical ideal old-world wine…a California wine with a spiritual connection to Friuli, Italy, but also drawing inspiration from the great whites of the Loire, Graves, Alsace, the Rhone, old-school Napa…actually the list of great whites we are inspired by goes on and on, and it is all wrapped up in this wine. This wine is an attempt at getting at the core of what white wine is all about, the archetypal “white wine,” thus the name. The wine we want to drink if we could just find it in the store…
The 2011 blend is 56 percent Sauvignon blanc, 20 percent Ribolla gialla, 18 percent Semillon, and 8 percent Tocai friulano.
The Sauvignon blanc brings a clean fresh citrusy acidity and some tropical character. The Ribolla gialla brings seashell minerality, nuttiness, and structure to the blend. The Semillon contributes viscosity and a 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 a rich lees character and a backdrop of creamy oak. There is interplay in the wine between lightness and richness, and focus and complexity.
The 2011 White Wine is the flintiest/stoniest vintage to date, almost Reisling-like at first, and thanks to the extremely long and cool growing season there is tremendous natural acidity tempered with a lot of flesh and ripeness. Flavors include white peach, kafir lime, lychee nut, grapefruit, and pineapple, along with stones, oyster shells, and freshly baled straw. It’s our most complex vintage to date.
The fruit was very lightly whole-cluster-pressed. All four varieties were co-fermented in 25% new Boutes barrels, and aged on its lees, with occasional stirring, until bottling. To preserve all of the acidity the wine was prevented from going through malo-lactic fermentation. After ten months of barrel aging, the wine was filtered to prevent further malolactic fermentation, and then bottled.
The two vineyards are all in the cool southern part of the Napa Valley.
The Sauvignon blanc and Semillon come from Ryans Vineyard, which sits on a streak of alluvial gravel in the center of the valley floor, south part of Napa. It is right in the path of the daily wind current that pulls up through the valley from the San Francisco Bay towards Calistoga. 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 Ribolla gialla and Tocai friulano are from the tiny Vare Vineyard, in the mouth of Napa’s Dry Creek canyon, right next to the creek. The rocky fluvial soil and cool air drainage of the canyon work perfectly with the variety. Ribolla gialla is an extremely old variety cultivated since medieval times in the Collio region of Italy and Slovenia.