Modus Operandi Cellars
2010 Sauvignon Blanc
California: Napa Valley: Rutherford
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Great White Dream
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to the Modus Operandi winery, who, earlier this year, wowed our Operatives with their impressive red blend. In time for Springtime sipping, direct Agent Red to secure and ample allotment of Modus’ Sauvignon Blanc for our thirsty Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Modus Operandi
Wine Subject: 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Jason Moore
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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Lightest yellow golden hues, from core to edge. When spun in the glass, the wine looks springy. It settles quickly, leaving behind tall columns of skinny legs start high on the glass.
Smell – Fragrant and bright, with stunning aromas of green apple, green mango, pink grapefruit, green lemongrass and crème brûlée. As the wine warms, just a little, it reveals creamy lemon curd, lime and the most subtle hint of hay.
Feel – Very soft and creamy on entry. Then, as the wine passes across the mid-palate, it gains some weight and introduces a hint of dryness that spreads from the edged of the palate, inward.
Taste – Bright and initially floral, the wine gradually introduces its fruit, beginning with yellow grapefruit, pineapple, key lime and green mango. Allow the wine to warm, just a little, and be rewarded with additional flavors of hawthorn, white peach, honey and the subtlest hint of toasty spiced oak.
Finish – Long and very flavorful, leading with white flowers that slowly yield to delicious fruit. When the wine warms, slightly, flavors become more complex and least even longer.
Conclusion – Go, Jason Moore! This Sauvignon Blanc is among the very best that we have ever tasted. Our tasting panel was unanimous in this bold declaration. We’ve tasted some exceptional Napa Valley Sauv Blanc, in the past, but this is our first from Rutherford. Best known for producing stunning Cabernet Sauvignon, today’s Sauvignon Blanc makes us sit up and take notice. We’ll be sure to scout the are for others. It maybe Jason Moore’s skills, that come into play here, however. Regardless, today’s wine is what you should be focusing on! This 2010 Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc is a delicious, fragrant, voluptuous, sexy and refreshing wine that belongs on your table. Just be sure to save a few bottles for Spring and Summer!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jason Moore
WINE EDUCATION: Self-taught thru books, an collection of mentors, and hands on winemaking.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Started making my own tiny production of wine in 2004 with 200 cases of Modus Cabernet Sauvignon; Production Manager of Silenus Vintners, the custom crush facility where I make a lot of wine from 2006 to 2008; Currently I’m the Winemaker for 6 small brands: Modus Operandi, Gentleman Farmer (formerly Poem Cellars), Cielo Malibu Estate Wineyards, Coleman Nicole, RHEO Cellars, and Ashton Lockett Wines.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Winemaking begins in the mind.
Here the winemaker decides what style of wine is desired and then works backwards, mapping out a plan of action which leads directly to the vineyard. This philosophy is based on something that all winemakers and wine lovers know… great wine makes itself and is only possible when made from great fruit. The process of making wine is a natural process thus, my job is to simply parent the wine through its growth, giving it what it needs to stay healthy. With that said, I believe that just as terroir can speak through the wine, the passion of the winemaker can undoubtedly sing through the wine
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”For some, determining ones true purpose in life is accomplished thru following the path of least resistance, and thus relinquishing to passion.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2004 Modus Operandi Cabernet Sauvignon… sometime in 2006
AGENT RED: Greetings, Jason. We are thrilled to be showing your 2010 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
JASON MOORE: It’s great to be back with my favorite Secret Agents!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
JASON: Working in restaurants in Dallas when I was a teenager. I had a manager that saw that I had an interest. He took me under his wing, taught me a lot about wine, and exposed me to wines that I would of otherwise never had access to at such a young age.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
JASON: Bob Foley, Thomas Rivers Brown, Manfred Krankel, Andy Erikson,
RED: Who do you make wine for?
JASON: People who celebrate wine. I love these people… people who really love wine. I hate seeing a person stick their nose in a glass and the first thing they look for are flaws… find the beauty.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
JASON: WINEMAKER: The Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc is quite different than most SB’s. I’ve been told by several people that it has turned them back on to Sauvignon Blanc where they previously didn’t like the grape. This particular wine is organically grown in Rutherford and I’ve been making the wine from the same seven rows in this vineyard since 2006.
The production of this wine is a bit different too. Most wineries will pick their fruit, press it, and ferment it with a single yeast for the lot. This wine is fermented in as small as single barrel batches distinguished by only the different yeast used to ferment it. Half of each vintage is co-fermented by two specific yeast strains which work off of each other to create a higher amount of thiol which are responsible for producing more tropical and aromatic wine. Ultimately, all of the micro lots are blended creating a more layered and complex wine.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
JASON: The wine is fairly rich and creamy due to the weekly stirring of the barrels so I’d go with richer seafood or perhaps coconut / curry based Thai dishes.
RED: The grapes for today’s wine comes from the Rutherford AVA, in the Napa Valley. In your opinion, what makes these regions so special?
JASON: The heavy soils of this vineyard are better for SB than cabernet. I know this, because I’ve made cab from this vineyard – and the SB is way better suited to this block!
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: Ohh. Sorry to hear it. The next time we meet, you’ll have to tell us how it has effected this year’s harvest! How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
JASON: Most wines these days are made in a manner conducive to being enjoyed earlier. Pop them bottles!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JASON: The 2008 vintage of this same wine was poured at a historic White House State Dinner that honored the Prime Minister of India.
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 Silenus Vintners, where today’s wine is on continuous offer, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Only 8 barrels of this exotic, unique, and profound wine were produced.
Those of you who have had this Sauvignon Blanc and have tasted with me know that a lot of thought goes into making it. Its character is profound and distinct…. by design. Specific yeast strains are selected to work together in the fermentation… each carrying out specific reactions that are dependent upon each other for the desired end product. To add complexity, native yeast is allowed to ferment a few barrels for blending. The result is a unique, layered, rich, and complex wine.
About The Winery:
Modus Operandi Cellars is a wine producer that can be considered the boutique of boutique, producing a small collection of rare wines where thoughtful winemaking and superior quality are the standard.
The small size of my production coupled with the enormous size of my passion allows me the pleasure of giving my wines the most intimate care possible.Jason Moore
Dallas waiter relenting to passion…
My path started in Dallas where by day I was a real estate agent and by night I was a waiter working with many of the cities finest restaurants. Visibly unhappy with the direction of my life, my wife helped me realize that I needed to make a change and work with something that I truly loved. She and I both knew that I had a deep passion for wine so it seemed to be the obvious answer. Six months later (2002) we had a three week long garage sale, sold everything we owned and moved to California where I had the ambitious aspirations of becoming a Winemaker.
Meeting my mentors…
We arrived and lived in Davis, CA for about four years where the intention was for me to attend the UC Davis’ Enology and Viticulture program. Unfortunately after digging deeper I learned that Davis was just too theory based for my learning style so plan B was to basically educate myself thru my own self study and thru the tutilage of winemaker mentors.
I believe that winemaking is an art form that is supported by tradition and science, and therefore feel that talented winemakers are not exclusively produced from Universities, but can also be the result of something more inate and passionate.
UC Davis extension and Napa College classes were used to supplement my knowledge and fill in the gaps that books couldn’t fill. However, true learning when it comes to such a stylistically artistic, yet mind blowingly organic and mystifying thing such as winemaking can ONLY be accomplished through MAKING WINE. There is absolutely no substitute.
Getting my hands dirty…
Right place, right time, right question… I got lucky by meeting a gentelman at a wine tasting who was a vineyard owner in Napa and was willing to GIVE me grapes from his vineyard to practice with. He even set me up with a place in his garage to make the wine, barrels, bins, and even basic lab equipment. It was the best learning experience that I could of ever asked for as there was no one looking over my shoulder telling me what to do… I had to figure it out myself by putting the theory I had learned to work. I was what they call a garagiste.
All while coddling my garage project, I was busy developing my palate, meeting winemakers (acquiring mentors), and spending time helping out at crush… a few days here, a few days there… just to get a feel for how different wineries worked. In 2005 I was on the harvest Winemaking team at Viader Vineyards & Winery on Howell Mountain.
Paying the bills…
I had been a waiter in fine restaurants for over ten years and from 2003 thru 2006 worked proudly at a restaurant which I consider the pinnacle of my service career… La Toque Restaurant in Rutherford, CA. Working at La Toque opened a lot of doors for me in my quest to meet vineyard owners, winemakers, and other influential personalities in the business. In fact, several of the vineyards that I source from today are a result of me serving the vineyard owner and (probably unprofessionally) asking to buy their fruit while I was serving them.
In 2006 I hung up the waiters apron for good after accepting a management position at the host facility where I would end up making Modus.
Modus Operandi Cellars is born…
Modus Operandi was founded with our first vintage in 2004 by winemaker/partner Jason Moore, and business partners Dr. Myun Han, Steve Vargas, Robert Rogel, and Akira Higa all of whom invested in the vision and passion of a Dallas waiter turned Napa Valley Winemaker.
Making wine for others…
In 2006 I was hired as Winemaker for Poem Cellars which is a very interesting project organized by Joey Wolosz, Jeff Durham, and Scott Tracy – Wine Director and Sommelier at La Toque (my old boss).
I am currently Winemaker for:
• Cielo Malibu Estate
• Coleman Nicole Wines
• Poem Cellars
- 8 barrels produced
- Barrel fermented
- Closed with a glass cork (VinoSeal)
- Grown organically in Rutherford, California.