2010 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc •Estate Vineyard
California: Napa Valley: Carneros
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
The previous vintage of today’s was declared to be the finest Sauvignon Blanc that we have ever featured on our pages. Today’s wine surpasses that remarkable achievement – by once again becoming the finest Sauvignon Blanc we have experienced. The prior vintage was also the best-selling white-wine of all time. Do not miss out on today’s exemplary wine.
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Mission Codename: One and Only
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to the Hartwell Estate winery, where some of our Operatives best-loved Cabernets have come from. In time for Springtime sipping, direct Agent Red to sample their white wine selections, in order to secure an ample allotment for our thirsty Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hartwell Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Benoit Touquette
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 straw hues at the core of the wine, color remains even, right out to the glinting platinum edges. After swirling, tall columns of thin legs fall very slowly from high up the glass wall.
Smell – Very fragrant, with a lush aromas of Golden Delicious apple, zesty lemon, green melon and lemon curd. As the wine warms just slightly, it unfolds aromas of green apple, lime, flint and subtle white spice.
Feel – Voluptuous and creamy, round at the tip of the tongue. As the wine passes the mid-palate, it takes on a lighter feel. Ultra-bright acids are tempered, beautifully, by finely integrated tannins. A fine dryness gradually spreads throughout the palate, making its way out to the lips and cheeks.
Taste – Very bright and delicious, with bold flavors of lime, lemon zest, Meyer lemon and grapefruit. These are accompanied by tart green apple, Asian pear, white peach, white flowers and a hint or subtle of spiced vanilla bean.
Finish – Ultra-long and packed with tart and sweet fruit flavors that gradually yield to flower petals and soft spice. An easy dryness, at the end, is a wonderful reminder to take another flavor-filled sip.
Conclusion – Once again, I have to declare this 2010 Hartwell Sauvignon Blanc to be the best Sauvignon Blanc I have ever tasted. Sorry, 2009 Hartwell SB, but your successor is tastier, softer, smoother and more intriguing than you were. As much as we love the ‘09, the 2010 just ups the ante. Now that springtime is here, and Summer is just around the corner, we can’t imagine a better wine to stock up on, as it is certain to please. Note that this wine is, perhaps, more bold and more flavorful than you might expect from a California Sauv Blanc, but this is why we love it so. While bold and delicious, this wine is also well-balanced, holding all of its big character in check. Pair with a aged cheeses or your favorite seafood or curry dish. Be sure to stock up on this very captivating wine.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Benoit Touquette
WINE EDUCATION: Master Science Degree of Enology University Bordeaux
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Worked as assistant to Andy Erickson 04 – 07 ,Winemaker at Hartwell since then
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: to craft wine that expresses the specific characteristics of the terroir and fruit from the vines
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Life is to share….wine too….
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2006
AGENT RED: Greetings, Benoit. We are thrilled to be showing your 2010 Estate Sauvignon Blanc today. Your 2009 was our best-selling Sauv Blanc of all time. Any bets that we’ll break that record, today?
BENOIT: Only if I can be in favor of the record being broken!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BENOIT: I have been fortunate to work with great people such as Michel Rolland, Andy Erickson etc… and fortunate to work in many parts of the world, Napa Valley, France and South Africa
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BENOIT: Michel Rolland; with no question.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BENOIT: I would say myself being a bit selfish but in the end hopefully the consumer will like the wine we produce
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BENOIT: Today’s wine is our 2010 Hartwell Estate Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes for this wine are harvested from our Estate vineyard in Carneros. We carefully ferment the juice in a combination of stainless steel and seasoned French oak barriques to maintain the fruit purity and crispness of the varietal while developing extra mid-palate richness. The finished wine ages sur lees for eight months before the we blend and bottle.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BENOIT: This wine is incredibly versatile for the upcoming summer season, but if I am forced to choose one pairing it would have to be sushi – preferably tuna or hamachi sashimi.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Carneros region so special?
BENOIT: Carneros offers a unique combination of full sunshine and cooler temperatures due to its proximity to the bay. This climate is ideal for gradual and consistent ripening of the grapes in turn maximizing the fruit and aromatic development of the wine.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BENOIT: We have recently finished blending our 2010 red wines and are readying them for bottling in June. At the same time I am watching (and tasting) the young, but delicious, 2011 red wines we have in barrel.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BENOIT: It is always good to let the wines breath (young or old) thru a decanting process. Always pay attention to the pour temperature if you want to get the best from the wine you are drinking.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BENOIT: Just have fun discovering, tasting and sharing new wines with friends and family…be fearless and adventuress.
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!
BENOIT: Merci, et mon plaisir!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Hartwell Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Three Sauvignon Blanc clones provide distinct characteristics in this intensely flavorful wine from our estate vineyard in Carneros, Napa Valley’s coolest and southernmost appellation.
Grapes are carefully sorted and gently whole-cluster pressed before the juice is fermented three ways: 47% in small stainless steel barrels, 45% in French oak barrels (20% new) and 8% in concrete eggs. Aged on the lees for eight months and stirred frequently, a small percentage of the lots have undergone malolactic fermentation for additional texture and aromatic complexity.
About The Winery:
Bob Hartwell’s passion for wine stems from his decades as an avid collector. Bob, a fourth generation Californian, has over thirty years of success in the aerospace and plumbing industries. As a successful manufacturer of quality products, Bob has never been a stranger to striving for quality over quantity at any cost. He has always known that the best quality materials result in the best quality products.
Bob’s obsession with producing the best didn’t stop at the manufacturing plant. Bob knew that fulfilling the dream of owning his own vineyard meant finding the best place to grow the best Cabernet Sauvignon. With the help of a respected wine consultant, he found the property he had been searching for. The unplanted hillside in the Stag’s Leap District, now Hartwell Estate, was the birthplace of his dream.
Dick Grace shared his Bouche Clone from Grace Family Vineyards, and collaborated with Bob on Hartwell’s very first production. In 1990 after 22 months in new French oak barrels, the wine, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, was released with explosive success. This established the tradition of quality and style that continues to distinguish Hartwell wines.
In addition to making great wine, Blanca and Bob Hartwell are dedicated to the tradition of charitable giving. Their ongoing philanthropic efforts are instrumental to organizations that improve the lives of children.
Benoit Touquette, Winemaker – Benoit holds a Masters degree of Enology and Chemistry from the University of Bordeaux. He has worked at several Bordeaux wineries including Chateau La Louviere and Chateau Couhins-Lurton. Early in his career Benoit made wine for Michel Rolland, “The Flying Winemaker,” in South Africa at Remhoogte Estate. Benoit is a star on the rise in the wine world and is devoted to continuing the Hartwell tradition of producing wines of distinction and acclaim.
Consulting Winemaker, Michel Rolland – Considered the world’s most influential winemaker and a graduate of the prestigious Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology, Michel Rolland has joined Hartwell Vineyards as a consulting winemaker.
Appellation: Carneros, Napa Valley
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc
Aging: 8 Months