Mario Bazan Cellars
2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
California: Napa Valley
What we say
Today’s wine drinks way above its price class, easily earning it this special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert. What does this mean? It means that you’re getting much more than you pay for!
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Mission Codename: Beacon
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Mario Bazán Cellars, secure an ample allocation of their stellar, value-priced Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mario Bazán Cellars
Wine Subject: 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Victoria Coleman
For today’s wine, we sent Agent Red back to Mario Bazán Cellars, a Wine Spies instant favorite when we first featured them in 2011. Mario Bazán is been best-known for producing some of the fine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon but today marks the our introduction of their brilliant Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
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 – Pale straw yellow hues from core to glinting edge. After swirling, the wine forms slow moving tears that begin very low on the glass wall.
Smell – A little shy when the wine is too cold, allow it to warm just a little and be rewarded with zesty citrus, fresh cut pineapple, slate minerals, pear and fresh herbs.
Feel – Round and very soft on entry. Then, almost immediately, the wine becomes gently grippy. This grippy sensation begins at the mid-palate and then spreads its way outward, to where it eventually dries the lips and cheeks.
Taste – Bright and fresh, with lively, bold flavors that almost perfectly mirror the nose. Add to those (citrus, pineapple and pear), the flavors of lime, subtle sweetwood and the faintest hint of white pepper.
Finish – Flavors are long-lasting, with lingering lemon and pear that slowly yields to slate, lime and sweetwood. At the tail end, the gums feel a slightly warm white pepper sensation.
Conclusion – This is a delicious, value-minded treat that drinks well above its price class! With wonderful, fresh flavors, in a wrapper that is both complex and compelling, today’s 2010 Mario Bazan Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley is a wine that is well-worthy of your attention. Calling this wine food friendly would be to sell it well short of its true potential. This wine can be served with most meals, shining especially when paired with finer fare. But, don’t pigeonhole this wine as solely a food wine. This delicious Sauv Blanc is a delightful solo sipper, as well, delivering a refreshing, elegant experience. At today’s price, we’d recommend that you purchase enough to have some on hand – throughout the summer.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Victoria Coleman
WINE EDUCATION: Work experience, Napa Valley College, UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Production Asst.; Bazan Vineyard Management, Field Tech.; Bazan Cellars, Winemaker; Lobo Wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Winemaker; Darius Anderson, Winemaker
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Do as much as possible in the vineyard to balance the grape clusters with the number of leaves to reach near perfect ripeness with lots of character. Do as little as possible with the fruit in the cellar to allow it to give the wine a sense of time and place.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Wine is the essence of time and effort spent in the vineyard paying attention to every detail as you work with grapevines and Mother Nature.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: October 2008
AGENT RED: Greetings, Victoria. We are thrilled to be showing your 2010 Mario Bazan Cellars Sauvignon Blanc today. This wine is truly fantastic. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
VICTORIA COLEMAN: Thank you, Agent Red. I am happy to be back with you – and your Operatives.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
VICTORIA: Since Viticulture was my main interest, it wasn’t until I tasted my first of Mario Bazan Cabernet Sauvignon, right after the primary fermentation, that I said to myself “WOW”. I fell in love with that wine. Another experience was the first time I tasted the 1994 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
VICTORIA: Michael Silacci, winemaker for Opus One
RED: Who do you make wine for?
VICTORIA: Myself (until Mario tells me otherwise). Someone once told me you can’t please everyone. If I’m happy with what ends up in bottle, then I cannot be disappointed when others see it differently than I.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
VICTORIA: It’s 100 percent sauvignon blanc from a single vineyard located in Napa with slightly cooler growing conditions. After five years of making cabernet sauvignon, this was my first attempt at a white wine, so this is a very special wine to me.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
VICTORIA: Pan-seared scallops or grilled seafood!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
VICTORIA: Rocks, soil, water, and the many micro climates from which to consider to achieve a specific style of Sauvignon blanc.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
VICTORIA: Bottling preparation of the red wines and a lot of barrel tasting to finalize the 2012 barrel plan.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
VICTORIA: Expect to fall in love … No, really, keep an open mind and have fun with my wines. I’m making wine in China now, so I can honestly say that.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
VICTORIA: Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and to taste the wine. I hope everyone enjoys this wine as much as I do!
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 you can taste the great wines of Mario Bazán Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
With very limited production, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a serious yet playfully refreshing indulgence. The lemongrass, grapefruit, flinty, and mineral-like aromas of the 2010 Mario Bazan Sauvignon Blanc are followed by apple blossom, fig, and pear notes. The entry is focused and juicy with flavors of white nectarine and lime. A vibrant acidity is present throughout with a touch of creamy texture. Mineral and grapefruit flavors linger on the finish. This food friendly wine dances gracefully across the palate, leaving a who engage clamoring for more.
About The Winery:
Mario Bazán, an immigrant from Oaxaca, México, arrived in the Napa Valley in 1973. Charmed by its beauty, he settled and began his life’s work in the vineyards. Mario’s experience and dedication to excellence have coaxed him to capture the essence of grape growing in a bottle. Mario Bazán Cellars, a boutique and family run winery, has been operating since 2005.
October 28, 2005. It is a Friday morning, cold and drizzly, and all is ready to start the picking of perfectly ripened grapes. Sleepy-eyed men and women with sharp knives in one hand and picking trays in the other begin to gather, their shoulders hunched up against the cold, their breath evaporating in the icy dawn. The tractor’s engine is running and there is a trailer holding a plastic bin behind it. You can almost breathe the excitement in the air, along with the smell of fermenting grapes so characteristic in Napa valley during the harvest season.
The action begins. There is a torrent of movement in the vineyard, and soon people are dumping the trays bursting with ripe fruit into the plastic bin. Mario, in charge of the harvest, asks the crew to select only the very best clusters. The pickers nod solemnly and go about their work. Victoria is inspecting the fruit now, while Gloria shoots some pictures and helps to remove the soggy fall colored leaves from the bin.
Later on, at the winery, Victoria and Gloria sort through the fruit, while Mario helps to put the clusters into the roller. Two more of Mario’s crew members help out with one thing or another to ensure the production runs smoothly. A chilly mist lingers in the air.
At the end of a long day of work, feeling exhausted, Mario, Gloria and Victoria dine together. Their clothes are soaked through, and they feel the cold digging into their bodies, but the idea of someday holding a bottle of wine in their hands with the Bazán family name on the label can only warm their souls. For them, it has gotten to the point of no return. The adventure has begun.
On this day, Mario Bazán Cellars
About The Winemaker:
Victoria Coleman’s passion for viticulture and winemaking is stimulating. To see such joy and determination as she tastes grape berries or works with her wine is contagious.
The Seattle native began working in the wine business as a production assistant to Michael Silacci, who oversaw viticulture and winemaking at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Victoria learned to make harvest decisions based on tasting grape berries. On the winemaking side, she learned how to evaluate fining and blending trials. The exposure and encouragement fueled her passion for winemaking. With her intuition and experience bulging at the seams, Victoria wanted to understand the science behind the art.
Victoria began working with Mario Bazán in 2004. She enrolled at UC Davis in Fall of 2006 with her first vintage, the 2005 Mario Bazán Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, under her belt. Victoria was graduated in June, 2008.
Mario had always dreamed of going beyond the vineyard and into the bottle. He recognized that Victoria was the person with whom he could accomplish this goal. From harvest decisions to bottling, Victoria has taken a hands-on approach to winemaking. With her Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Shepherd, Oliver, at her side in the vineyard or waiting outside the cellar door in the shade, Victoria is in her element.
VARIETAL: 100% SAUVIGNON BLANC
APPELLATION: NAPA VALLEY
BARREL PROGRAM: 100% STAINLESS STEEL; SURLIES AGED FOR 3 MONTHS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 1, 2011
CASE PRODUCTION: 200 CASES