von Strasser Winery
2011 'Rudy' Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
California: Napa Valley
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Mission Codename: The Benefactor
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to von Strasser Winery, a wine Spies Operative favorite. Procure their 2011 “Rudy” Sauvignon Blanc, a brilliant Super QPR summertime wine. Secure as many cases as possible.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: von Strasser Winery
Wine Subject: 2011 Rudy Sauvignon Blanc – Napa Valley
Winemaker: Rudy von Strasser
Backgrounder: Best known for its exceptional, ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon, von Strasser Winery sits stop Napa Valley’s high-elevation, on Diamond Mountain. von Strasser Cabs are revered for their elegance and exceptional quality. Having recently won two perfect 100 Point scores for their Cabernets, von Strasser wines are in hot demand.
von Strasser’s Rudy label shares the remarkable pedigree with the winery’s signature von Strasser label. Rudy wines are crafted with the same care and superior winemaking.
Winery Backgrounder: von Strasser winery is located in the Diamond District AVA (American Viticultural Area) at the northern tip of the Napa Valley. The higher elevation of the region sees more direct sunlight and less cooling that the rest of the valley, leading to the production of some of the most sought after Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon in the entire Napa Valley.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light golden yellow, from core to edge, with perfect clarity. When spun, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind tall columns of slow-moving skinny legs that start high on the glass.
Smell – Before even listing the glass to the nose, aromas of citrus and green melon leap from the glass. Inhale the wine up close and find green apple, freshly cut lemongrass, yellow straw and lemon curd.
Feel – Soft and round, on entry. At the mid-palate, the wine takes on a vibrant, refreshing, medium-structured feel with a defined mineral edginess to it at the corners of the mouth. After the wine passes the palate, it introduces a hint of dryness that spreads from the edges of the palate, inward toward the center.
Taste – Bright and light with citrus, young (underripe) white peach, young pear, lemon zest and a hint of pineapple. As the wine warms, even just a little, additional flavors of white flower petals, lemongrass, key lime, flinty minerals and a subtle hint of dried herbs.
Finish – Very long and full of bright flavors, with citrus fruit giving way to white flowers that slowly yield to flint and very subtle dried herbs.
Conclusion – We love you, Rudy von Strasser! Thank you for crafting a super-quality Sauvignon Blanc that drinks like a far higher-priced wine. Today’s superb 2011 Rudy Sauvignon Blanc_ is a delicious, refreshing, complex wine that our tasting panel unanimously agreed was the _best under-$20 Sauvignon Blanc*_ any of us had ever tasted. We’ve always been enamored of Rudy’s wines and, in fact, von Strasser wines hold a handful of spots in our Top 20 Best-Selling Wines of all time. One sip of today’s wine and you’ll understand why Rudy’s wines are so popular. Oh, and you’ll also be hooked. This wine is extraordinarily food-friendly. Pair with sea food or a spicy Thai meal. We paired ours with freshly made grill pan pizza with lemon and olive oil-tossed arugula, sliced dried figs, Gorgonzola and prosciutto. This pairing was sheer heaven!
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The gorgeous location of the steeply sloping von Strasser vineyards, high atop Diamond Mountain, can be seen in this <A HREF=“http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=qdv3314sjx26&style=b&lvl=1&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=7874788&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1” TARGET=“NEW”>satellite photo</A>.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Spring blossoms are breaking out here at von Strasser winery. Nothing captures the essence of spring like our 2011 Rudy Sauvignon Blanc. This beautiful wine has bright citrus fruit with an overall lean structure and definitive minerality that rounds out the finish.
About The Winery:
The von Strasser Story – With a family connection to Eric de Rothschild, Rudy wrote a letter asking to do an internship at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each year the Chateau had been hiring an intern from the French winemaking program at Montpellier. Thinking that two minds are better than one, Mr. Rothschild invited Rudy to work for the 1985 harvest as their first American intern. (The result was so successful, that each year since the Chateau has chosen a new Davis graduate to work as an intern at the winery.) Rudy returned to Napa Valley in the spring of 1986 and was hired as the enologist at Trefethen Winery and Vineyards. In 1988, he became the assistant winemaker in charge of production at Newton Vineyards in St. Helena.
Shortly after their marriage in 1989, Rudy and Rita von Strasser set out looking for a vineyard property to make their home. Having already developed a deep passion and talent for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Rudy was committed that the property must be in a microclimate blessed with the ability to grow and produce the finest red wines in Napa Valley; wines worthy to carry the von Strasser family name. Serendipitously, the old Roddis Estate Winery on Diamond Mountain had just been put on the market, and in the spring of 1990, the von Strasser label was born.
The history of the property reads like a who’s who of early California Cabernet History. After being denied a permit to turn his estate into a golf course, William Bounsall decided to subdivide his property, and in 1968 sold 1/3 of his property to Albert Brounstein. Canadian born, Al pioneered the modern decade of winemaking in this AVA by planting Cabernet Sauvignon in three distinct vineyard sites and bottling each separately under the name Diamond Creek Vineyards. The next year, 1969, Bounsall himself decided to get into the grape business and planted 2 acres to Cabernet Sauvignon with bud-wood from the famous Martha’s Vineyard. In 1978, Bill Roddis bought the Bounsall ranch and started Roddis Cellars. The wines were made by Andre Tcheistcheff, and in their days where considered by many to be the biggest wines made in the Napa Valley. In 1985, the winery was sold to the Gilby family (British gin), who used it as a corporate retreat. The vineyards, now totaling about 7 acres, were leased to Pine Ridge Winery, who bottled the grapes separately as their “Diamond Mountain” Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1990, Rudy and Rita von Strasser bought the property and began the fulfilling task of renovating and modernizing the estate and the vineyards to make the property one of the gems of Diamond Mountain.
The building that houses the winery is an historic barn that was built in the late 1880’s. Through careful planning it has been remodeled into a modern winemaking facility while retaining its working-ranch charm. To take full advantage of the hillside location and to better control the variables of winemaking, the von Strassers added caves to their property. Dug into the virgin hills, these caves retain an ideal climate for barrel aging, and average temperature of 55 degrees and an average humidity of 80%.
Alcohol: 13.0 (13.2)
Varietal Make-up: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 100% Stainless Steel
Production: Very Limited