What We Say 2008 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Today’s wine deserves special recognition as a high QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wine, as it drinks above its price class.
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Mission Codename: The Crisp and the Beautiful
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Bravante Vineyards. This time, direct him to return with a cache of Bravante’s top-selling Sauvignon Blanc, just in time for our Operatives’ covert Summer festivities.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bravante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2008 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Duane Dappen
Backgrounder: For today’s wine we return to Bravante Vineyard, a true sleeper hit among our Operatives. Today, Agent Red returns from the Bravante tasting room in beautiful Angwin – at the northern end of the Napa Valley – with their in time for summer 2008 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pale golden yellow, with perfect clarity, a bouncy surface and glinting golden edges that catch the sunlight when swirled. Skinny legs start high on the glass, and then run slowly downward.
Smell – Fragrant and luscious with green apple, soft lemongrass, honeysuckle, soft grapefruit and soft flint. After much swirling and after the wine warms, a hint of ripe banana emerges!
Feel – Soft and light on entry, the wine glides easily across the entire palate. After a moment, velvet tannins add a hint of dryness that adds to the complexity of the wine.
Taste – Elegant flavors of soft pink grapefruit, nectarine, lemongrass, white peach, soft white flowers and a hint of vanilla.
Finish – Fine and sweet, long and lush for a Sauvignon Blanc, this wine invites repeat sipping after the flavors eventually tail off.
Conclusion – A fantastic wine with a superb mouth feel, this wine delivers on so many levels. The low price of the wine surprised us, given the quality – and the premium Bravante Red’s that we are used to. Allow the wine time to stretch out, and try it a little warmer than fridge temp for best results. As the wine warms, even slightly, it reveals new levels of aromas, flavors and a softer feel. Perfect for Summer sipping, this wine gets our hearty recommendation. It is really nice to get excited about a Sauvignon Blanc!
AGENT RED: Greetings, Duane. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Trio today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DUANE: You’re welcome. I am excited to be working with you spies and I promise to not reveal your true names.
RED: We appreciate that! Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DUANE: As I was growing up in El Dorado County, I worked with a friend’s father making home wine in their cave that was an abandoned gold mine. I actually did a 4-H project of winemaking. We entered our wines in the El Dorado County Fair and won ‘Best of Show’ for our Wild Blackberry wine.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DUANE: I have worked with many winemakers and have influences from several, so there is not any to really single out. Working here in the Napa Valley for 25 years has allowed me to work with and try many wines.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
DUANE: I make it for the ladies. Wine sales many times ultimately come down to whether chicks dig it or not.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
DUANE: The Bravante 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is a California styled SB. The wine is packed with nectarine, peach and some lemon. I love this style of Sauvignon Blanc because it is great as a glass of wine while hanging out, but goes with so much good food.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DUANE: I love this wine with a nice pasta with a sauce of lots of fresh veggies and some of the wine reduced and then a nice grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I also enjoy it with some nice snapper or crab cakes
RED: Yummy! In your opinion, what makes the Suisun Valley so special?
DUANE: The fruit for this wine come from Suisun Valley, just into Yolo County from Napa County. The warm days and cool nights (the top of the bay is just a mile or so away) with the rich soil grow SB that makes a wine with fresh and fruity flavors, not much of that ‘cat pee’ or overly veggie.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DUANE: I am racking last years red wines and finishing the 2008 blend to bottle just before harvest.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
DUANE: They should get some good friends and loved ones have some of our tasty Howell Mountain wines and good food and enjoy themselves. The main thing anyone needs to know about wine is what they like!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DUANE: Come check out the new winery and enjoy the beautiful Howell Mountain countryside.
RED: I encourage all of our Operatives to visit! Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Bravante Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This is your new “house white”- a beautiful blended white that goes well with so many food options, our
Bravante Vineyards’ Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Suisun Valley and is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Musque. This wine was partially fermented for a 3 months in neutral barrels, which gives us a luscious, full texture in the mid-palate, while the stainless steel tank fermentation preserves the bright acidity and great lemon and white peach flavors. Serve this wine with small bites and cheese bits, or just in a big tub of ice at your holiday gathering.
Tasting Notes: Luscious texture, bright candied lemon and white peach flavors, spicy and exotic on the nose.
About The Winery:
Bravante Vineyards is home to premium, estate-grown and produced Howell Mountain wines. With commitment to quality driving everything we do in the vineyard and in the cellar, we are focused on crafting consistently delicious and well-made wines from our historic Howell Mountain Appellation.
From the beginning, our wine philosophy has been grounded in one word: commitment. Commitment to creating world class wine and commitment to the winemaking styles that best express the varietals of the historic Howell Mountain Appellation in Napa Valley. We are committed to continually developing our state-of-the-art estate properties with good stewardship always in mind, selecting the most appropriate root stocks and clones available in conjunction with utilizing the most advanced but gentle farming techniques. We know that every vintage offers it’s own unique challenges, and so we are ever watchful and ready to adapt to ensure that our wine-grapes are well-tended and that the quality of our fruit is the highest it can be. This overall commitment to “quality over quantity”, geared toward preserving our unique Howell Mountain terroir, helps us fulfill our winemaking commitment to our friends, family and loyal customers: bottling consistently well-made, perfectly balanced wines that offer true expressions of all that Howell Mountain fruit has to offer.
About The Winemaker:
Duane Dappen – I was raised in an agricultural family; my maternal grandfather managed a fish hatchery in Wisconson and my dad was a prized beekeeper. I was in 4-H since the age of 9, starting with raising steers for the El Dorado county fair then working with bees producing wonderful foothills honey. In high school I had some friends whose parents made wine in their cave (actually an old gold mine). Their son, myself and another friend started a 4-H project and entered the results of our work in the El Dorado County Fair Home Winemaking competition. We made some Chenin Blanc and Grenache with must donated by Greg Boeger from Boeger Vineyards in Placerville. We also produced a Plum wine and a Blackberry wine, The Blackberry wine received “Best of Show”. This was the inspiration I needed to enter the enology program at The University of California, Davis.
After graduating from UC Davis, I went to work as a cellar worker at Grgich Hills Cellars. There, alongside four other UC Davis graduates and Mike Grgich, I learned the critically important winery production processes for producing ultra premium wines. This was all about cleaning barrels, endless pump overs, lugging scores of hosing, racking wine and a multitude of additional chores that must be done to produce a fine wine. Grgich Hills was a great place to begin a winemaking career as I was surrounded by passionate, innovative peers and shown what it takes to build a great wine.
In 1989 I moved north as cellar master to one of Napa Valley’s renowned Zinfandel producers, Jerry Seps’s Storybook Mountain. The move to a much smaller operation afforded me the opportunity to oversee nearly all production aspects at the winery. This four year, Zinfandel-intensive tenure was incredibly valuable to my winemaking career.
The year 1993 brought me to Rombauer Vineyards where I began as cellar master but quickly rose to the assistant winemaker position. Because Rombauer also functions as a custom crush facility, (a facility where small wineries may bring their grapes to be produced into wine) it was a unique opportunity to work with a wide spectrum of varietals, winemaking styles and a multitude of respected winemakers. Finally, in 1998 Frank Family Vineyards offered me the opportunity to be winemaker. I produced an amazing array of wine brands including Rombauer, and Frank Family still and sparkling wines and many different boutique wineries. During this time I started working with Bravante Vineyards, producing wines from the Stone Ridge Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Using the wonderful grapes grown from our estate vineyard I started producing the wines that we have now.
Appellation: North Coast
Sub-Appellation: North Coast
Bottling Date: April 15, 2009
Harvest Date: September, 2008
Release Date: June 10, 2009
Special Designation: Gary Mangels Vineyard
Varietal: 50% Sauvignon Musque, 50% Sauvignon Blanc
Varietal Notes: Single Vineyard
Vineyard Notes: This wine is 100% from Gary Mangels vineyard in the AVA of Suisun Valley, California.