2007 Y3 Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc •Napa River Ranch & Hardester Estate
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
Today’s wine drinks above its price class, earning it today’s special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) alert.
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Mission Codename: Knucklebones
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: In time for the holidays, send Agent Red to investigate Jax Vineyards, a Napa Valley winery whose charter is to create limited production wine of superior quality. Secure a high-value wine for our deserving Operattives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Jax Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Y3 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, 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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Bright golden yellow, with perfect clarity. The wine shows off a delightfully springy surface that reflects glints of gold at its edges. Fine legs start high on the glass, and then move their way slowly downward.
Smell – Fragrant and refreshing on the nose, with distinct peach, pineapple, green apple, lemongrass, acacia, soft nectarine and a hint of flint.
Feel – Focused but lightweight on entry, the wine glides easily across the front palate. After a moment, soft tannins add a hint of dryness at the mid-palate, adding a soft complexity to the wine.
Taste – Bright and focused (but not sharp) flavors of yellow peach, pineapple and crisp citrus lead the way. These are soon followed by yellow apple, green apple, soft minerals and just a hint of zesty spice.
Finish – Mouth-coating at first, this wine has a clean, medium-long finish that begins with bright white fruit and tails off to citrus, a hint of spice and a flinty minerality.
Conclusion – Made by our old friend, Rob Hunter we’ve encountered Rob on several past mission to other wineries, this is a fantastic wine that bursts with bright flavors. This wine delivers big value in a fun-to-drink wine. The perfect pairing partner for our holiday meals, our tasting panel agreed that we would keep several bottles on hand for our white wine loving friends and family. Fresh fruit is balanced against a wine that delivers big flavors, without feeling as pointy or rough-edged as other Sauv Blancs in this budget-friendly price range. In fact, I should point out that the wine drinks well above today’s selling price. Be sure to stock up!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
WINE EDUCATION: BS Winery & Vineyard Management, UC Davis, 1983
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Groth, Keenan, Lyeth, Markham, Sterling, Robert Hunter, Bennett Lane, Hunter III, Y3!!
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To Focus on Varietal Fruit Flavor!!
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Give Credit where Credit is Due! I appreciate all who have helped me be my best.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: “Oh Gawd, I forget…”
AGENT RED: Greetings, [winemaker]. We are thrilled to be showing your “2007 JAX Sauvignon Blanc" today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer
questions for our Operatives today.
WINEMAKER: It is always a pleasure to work with the Spies.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: Yes, delivering grapes to Chateau St Jean in 1977 while it was under construction and watching Dick Arrowood direct Harvest at the crusher. He was a madman in total control. I guess I’ve been that way throughout my entire career.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WINEMAKER: That’s tough, because I’m known for my Reds, but Chuck Ortman had a big influence on my white winemaking, so did Nils Venge.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
WINEMAKER: [poss answers: myself, consumers, wine reviewers] I make the wines of Y3 for the consumer. The focus is on Varietal Fruit Flavor. Consumers LOVE the honesty and integrity of Y3’s approach to Winemaking, let the Fruit speak for itself.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc is from Pope Valley from the Hardester Ranch. The fruit was picked at high maturity which allows for the bright white peach flavor to come through. By allowing the fruit to ripen longer, the grassy vegetal elements of the varietal tend to go away and the ripe fruit characters come up.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: Grilled Sea Bass, with a simple mango salsa.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Pope Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: The warm climate of Pope Valley makes it ideal for the style of Sauvignon Blanc that I like to make.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: Getting all of these young wines finished up, cleaned up, put away, and for the aromatic whites, begin to get them ready for stabilization.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
WINEMAKER: Don’t go whipping the glass around before you smell the wine first. It drives me NUTS to see “so called” professionals turbo-swirl their glass before even smelling the wine. TCA, Brett and other PPBillion or PPTrillion components are long gone after the turbo-swirl. Smell the wine static, swirl, and smell the wine again. Then taste, spit, and smell a third time. Voila!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
WINEMAKER: Yes, corks are the death of white wine after several years. They contribute to the early oxidation and off flavor of the wine. Paraffin corks are best, yet over time even they become infused with wine, and the degradation begins. Alas, the screw cap really is the way to go with white wines.
RED: 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 Napa River Ranch vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
‘Top Value’ Sauvignon Blanc – Wine Spectator
Silver Medal – San Francisco Chronical Int’l Wine Competition
About This Wine:
Y3. Or as you may ask, why not? After all, the beauty of this wine runs far deeper than the label. Celebrating three generations of land-tilling, wine-loving Jacksons, siblings Kimberly and Trent are proud to present Y3, a wine as special as their grandparents who inspired the name.
Vibrant and pointed with a complex concentration of white peach, nectarine, and yellow apple. On the palate, one will note a ripe, fresh citrus, medium bodied mouthfeel with a touch of minerality. This crisp and bright style is supported by luscious floral nuances resulting in a harmonious and elegant finish.
VINIFICATION: The wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Our goal was to emphasize the fresh fruit thereby omitting barrel fermentation.
VINTAGE: With dry winter and a warm, dry spring, the grapes got off to an early start. When temperatures cooled in mid-September, the maturity slowed down resulting in a longer than anticipated hang time on the vine resulting in rich, ripe fruit flavors that will most certainly help to produce wines of notable complexity. We saw very little sunburn, dehydration or collapsing of the fruit. This should prove to be an exceptional vintage.
70%: Napa River Ranch. These vineyards are located just north of the town of Napa, sitting at the junction of three rivers/creeks – the Napa River, Hopper Creek and Dry Creek. In general, the soils are relatively deep and are made of clay, loam, and some river gravel, ideal for dry farming practices and intense, complex fruit.
30%: Hardester Estate. These vineyards are located a few miles to the northeast of Rutherford alongside Howell Mountain. This property with its alluvial clay loam soils is
planted primarily with Cabernet Sauvignon, offering vibrant, focused flavors.
About The Winery:
In 1996, green thumb David Jackson purchased an exceptional 28 year old, dry farmed vineyard in northern Calistoga.
Having developed a great eye for detail as a former successful printing executive, David now refocuses these qualities on managing his vineyard.
Shortly after David purchased the vineyard, his entrepreneurial son, Trent got inspired to build on his father’s dream. Using the grapes from his father’s vineyard, Trent bottled and produced his first vintage in his San Francisco garage. An award winner? No, but there was promise here and an even greater determination to make wine. Trent immediately enlisted cult winemaker Kirk Venge to take over.
By the late 90’s, Trent’s focus on quality and limited production attracted a loyal word of mouth following. However working full time in technology, Trent soon began to realize that his promising hobby required full time attention. In 2002, Trent turned to his sister Kimberly, a newly minted MBA who co-founded the wine club at Vanderbilt University. Without hesitation, Kimberly jumped into the business with tenacity and passion. Within one year, Kimberly restructured the business, rebranded the wine, placed the wine in top restaurants in the Bay Area and New York, received great press, and established distribution in 8 states. The vision is to produce high quality wines, with a chic label, and fair price point. Kimberly asserts that “the next generation is looking for a modern brand, great quality, and a good story.” Now we are distributed in 26 states including Canada. Our production averages 8,000 cases per year among all varietals.
About The Winemaker:
Vineyards: Napa River Ranch and Hardester Estate
Appellation: Yountville, Napa Valley
Soil: Clay, loam, and some river gravel
Winemaker: Rob Hunter
Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc