Hunter III Wines
2007 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
California: Napa Valley
What we say
Today’s wine delivers great value at a great price, easily earning it today’s special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) alert.
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Mission Codename: Built to last
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to the Hunter III winery where, in 2010, our Operatives first sampled Rob Hunter’s solo-project wines for the first time. Rob is winemaker for several premium brands around California and his wines have always delighted us with their refinement, elegance and character.
Sauvignon Blanc originally hails from the Loire Valley in France, but has found new homes in other parts of France (Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sauternes); New Zealand, and specifically the Marlborough region as well as California. It is generally dry and crisp with flavors of apples, pears and tropical fruit and tends to have bright acidity that lends itself well to pairing with spicy foods. Today’s Sauvignon was, according to Rob Hunter, specifically built to age.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hartwell Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Rob Hunter
Backgrounder: Sauvignon Blanc originally hails from the Loire Valley in France, but has found new homes in other parts of France (Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sauternes), New Zealand (especially the Marlborough region) and, of course, California. Sauvignon Blanc is generally dry and crisp with flavors of apples, pears and tropical fruit and it tends to have bright acidity that lends itself well to pairing with spicy foods.
Today’s wine was grown in Hartwell’s Carneros AVA vineyards. While the wineries around the globe may argue about which region grows the best wines in the Napa Valley, we don’t care. We happen to be enamored with Carneros, but what matters most is that our Operatives are the ultimate beneficiaries the selection of today’s wine!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pale golden hues, right out to the glinting edge of the wine. After swirling, tall columns of skinny legs start high on the glass, and then run slowly down to the surface below.
Smell – Fragrant and zesty, with green apple, yellow grapefruit, white spice and lemongrass that jump out of the glass. These are followed by caramel, vanilla, Meyer lemon, hay, slate and keylime.
Feel – Soft and round at the tip of the tongue, the wine glides over the entry and mid-palate. Bright acidity at the the center and edges of the palate causes the mouth to water. This enhances the flavors and introduces a hint of dryness that slowly spreads throughout the palate.
Taste – Bright and high, with zesty fruit and soft spice. Flavors of tart lemon, Asian mango, grapefruit and white nectarine are out in front. As the wine warms and opens up, additional flavors emerge. These include creamy lemon curd, lime, white peach and dried white flower petals.
Finish – Long and tart, at first, then spice and zesty lime emerge, ushering in flinty minerals, dried flower petals and lemongrass that linger for a long time.
Conclusion – When this wine was offered to us, we had to wonder about its age. Rob explained that his Sauvignon was built to improve with a little bottle age, but it was the opening of a bottle that convinced us that this wine really delivers. This Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc has a soft and elegant mid-palate feel that makes it a pleasure to take long sips. The fruit is bright and fresh and zesty, giving it a lively personality. Tart flavors are balanced by its elegant feel and bright acidity, making this wine a great food-pairing partner. Enjoy with a spicy Asian dish or hard cheeses and dried fruits.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Rob Hunter
DATE OF BIRTH: January 25, 1960
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, CA
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis, BS, Winery & Vineyard Management (Three Majors of Enology, Viticulture & Agricultural Economics)
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Internships @ Woodbury Winery, Dom. Chandon & Schramsburg. Asst Winemaker @ Groth V & W (83-86). Winemaker @ Robert Keenan(86-90), Lyeth(90-92) & Markam93-97). VP & Dir. Of Winemaking @ Sterling Vineyards(97-04). Winemaker @ Bennett Lane (2004 – 2010)
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To highlight varietal fruit flavor by picking at flavor maturity rather than numerical ripeness.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Aromatic White and Bordeaux Red Wines
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Helping make the Groth 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the first US Robert Parker 100 point Wine.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Being elected to be the President of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Society. I nearly flunked Biochemistry 101B, had a horrible time with Chemistry overall, and never thought or even still think of myself as a “technical” type of Winemaker!!
WINEMAKER QUOTE: My wines show my passion for perfection! One can never achieve true perfection, but they can strive for it through excellence. But you must always remember to keep your sense of humor!! Humor is infectious. Humor and Passion are the keys to life!
AGENT RED: Greetings, Rob. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Hunter III Sauvignon Blanc today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ROB HUNTER: My pleasure, Red. It’s good to be back with you, today.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ROB: Yes, during my First internship working for Russ Woodbury.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
ROB: Probably working for Nils Venge at Groth. I learned about Winemaking at Davis, I learned how to make wine from Nils.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
ROB: To highlight the Varietal’s fruit flavor while taking a minimalistic approach in the cellar. Don’t over oak or over work the wines.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ROB: The wines of Trimbach.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
ROB: Since 1981, so that’s 29 years!!
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ROB: This wine is 97% Sauvignon Blanc and 3% Viognier. The SB, coming from Pope and Alexander Valleys shows bright peach characters while the Viognier adds some wonderful honeysuckle and gardenia highlights as well as some creaminess to the palate
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ROB: I love a soft double cream brie with this wine.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley – and the Pope and Alexander Valley’s, in particular – so special?
ROB: The key to both Pope and Alexander Valleys is that they can get hot enough for the grassiness of the varietal to dissipate, leaving bright ripe peach characters.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
ROB: Study up, and find a small Winery where you can intern at. Then watch and learn. Make sure not to ask too many questions!! (Winemakers can be moody souls when they get busy!)
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ROB: Oh, installing a shade canopy and misting system to help keep us cool on the crush pad. Also I’m finalizing my blend for our new red wine, Reilly’s Red, a 2009 Petite Sirah/Zinfandel Blend that is a big rich jammy fruit bomb! It’ll be $45 on the website. BTW, go to YOUTUBE, enter HUNTER III WINES and watch my three videos. They’re hilarious!! Informative too.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
ROB: I was almost an opera singer.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
ROB: With appropriate stemware. Poor stemware drives me crazy. You might as well drink it out of a coffee mug.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
ROB: What is your favorite type of cheese to go with wine? Morbier. It goes great with ANY wine, red, white, sauternes, even port!!
RED: Thank you so much for spending some time with us today.
What the winery says
“I think of my wines as a tapestry of Napa Valley winegrowing. Each bottle of Hunter III represents the Napa Valley in all its diversity, with grapes from each distinct vineyard fitting together like the pieces of a puzzle in a perfect master blend.” – Rob Hunter
About This Wine:
My 2007 Sauvignon Blanc has a beautiful pale straw color. Aromas of ripe “Golden Gem” peaches with floral hints of yellow roses waft from the glass. Full and rich on the palate, this wine has a lovely unctuous quality. This is truly a reserve caliber SB!
About The Winery:
Hunter III Wines was founded in 2004 to create Napa Valley wines from grapes grown in unique vineyard sites throughout the valley that embody what I call the “wow” factor – Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc that are varietally fruit focused, intense, and are a cumulative expression of my 25 years of winemaking for noteworthy wineries in Napa Valley. – Rob Hunter
A tapestry that illustrates the rich diversity in grapegrowing throughout the Napa Valley, Hunter III Wines is a new and exciting creator of high quality, extremely limited production wines made from grapes grown in some of the Napa Valley’s most prestigious vineyards and appellations. Hunter III Wines was founded in 2004 by second-generation winemaker Rob Hunter, whose more than 25-year career has afforded him the opportunity of working with many of the most respected names in the industry. A commitment to making wines from grapes that grow best in the Napa Valley has led Hunter III down the path of crafting Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc exclusively, with different blending components in each wine virtually representing a map of the best vineyard sites throughout the county.
A small family business at its core, Hunter III, under Rob’s guidance, has an eye on the future, with hopes that Rob’s daughter, Haley, will someday tap into her family’s winemaking roots.