What We Say 2007 Bale Lane Sauvignon Blanc
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Mission Codename: The great Baleout
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Visit St. Clement Vineyards and return with their 2007 Bale Lane Sauvignon Blanc
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: St. Clement Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Bale Lane Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Danielle Cyrot
The Bale Lane Vineyard is the source of the fruit from St. Clement’s Bale Lane Vineyard (also shared by Beringer). The well-drained soils of this vineyard, located in the warmer, mid-valley northern end of Napa Valley , produce beautifully ripe fruit that produces full-flavored Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon wines. The fruit at Bale Lane is most influenced by the generally warmer and sunny climate.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous light yellow gold in color, with perfectly consistent color out to the edges of the glass. The tight surface of this wine settles very quickly after a good swirl, leaving behind small clusters of skinny legs
Smell – Mid intensity on the nose with bright aromas of citrus, freshly cut granny smith apple, green melon and subtle straw. These aromas sit atop tropical notes of pineapple and starfruit, with a slight chalky minerality
Feel -Soft and round on entry, then crisp and slightly dry and a touch of pleasant tanginess, particularly at the back of the palate. These sensations are presented in a slow progression, making the wine very interesting in the mouth as it evolves
Taste – Bright and fresh with flavors that mimic the nose. These are accompanied but a very subtle watermelon flavor – a unique attribute to be sure – and subtle soft spice
Finish – Clean and fresh, the finish is very much influenced by the progression of the Feel as I mentioned above. Flavors and textures evolve in the mouth and, ultimately, this makes for a very extended finish that is very pleasing and very flavorful
Conclusion – The 2007 St. Clement Bale Lane Sauvignon Blanc is a dynamic wine that presents a unique evolution on the palate, as flavors and textures shift and change. The overall experience is unique and the wine is, quite simply, delicious. We are continually pleased and impressed with wines from St. Clement. If you are looking for an interesting – and delicious – summertime refresher, this wine is certain to please you.
The following is an extract from our first-encounter mission report, in which Agent White first becomes acquainted with our now-good friends at St. Clement:
It was perhaps the strangest of locations to start a wine mission. I entered the church and as the instructions indicated, I was to go to the second pew and show penance. As I knelt, in the pew, I noticed a book with a bookmark in it. Looking more closely, it was a history of the Papacy and the page that was bookmarked was about Pope Clement I (Clemens Romanus), who is also known as St. Clement. No being sure if this was the clue, I stayed for another hour and beyond the woman practicing on the organ, nobody came or went from the church.
Back at HQ, I entered in our research computer the search term ‘Clement’ and found that indeed, the bookmark was a clue. All signs pointed in the direction of St. Clement Vineyards in Napa Valley. We had an asset who could get us some additional intel so I PIN messaged Agent Malbec and within a few hours a courier had delivered a bottle of the St. Clement to our front company.
The bottle was immediately taken to the lab for analysis. The results were clear; It was an almost perfect wine, with fruit from one of the best vineyards in Napa. St. Clement had been on our radar for a couple months. Their winemaker Danielle Cyrot, with a long lineage of European winemakers was making quite a name for herself.
But as we always say, the proof is in the juice… Lab results, research, walks through the vineyards are all nice, but its in the glass that matters… Well, there’s no knelling for St. Clement wines. After tasting it, we were jumping for joy.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of St. Clement Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
St. Clement Vineyards
Awards and Accolades:
90 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate – December 31, 2008 “Displaying a gorgeously flinty, Loire Valley-styled personality, the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Bale Lane Vineyard offers abundant aromas and flavors of crushed rocks, gunflint, and honeyed grapefruit. Medium-bodied, dry, zesty, and well-made, it should be enjoyed over the next 1-2 years.”
Voted Best Boutique Winery Two Years In A Row By Napa and Sonoma Valleys magazine.
Voted Best Local Winemaker – Winemaker Danielle Cyrot -
About This Wine:
Light straw in color, this fresh Sauvignon Blanc offers enticing aromas of honeydew melon, grapefruit and honeysuckle. Crisp acidity greets the palate, introducing flavors of lemon, key lime pie, cucumber and fresh green apple. The mid-palate is lush and full, leading to a crisp, clean finish that features flavors of grapefruit and citrus blossom.
Vineyard Notes: The 2007 growing season is a standout vintage for white wines. The season began with a drier than average winter, and the trend continued throughout the growing season. Overall we received about 60 percent of normal precipitation during the year. A warm spring resulted in early budbreak, and it was predicted to be an early harvest, but the pace slowed as mild summer temperatures set in. A brief heat spike around Labor Day provided the boost of sugar development necessary to complement the excellent acid structure in the white varietals. The fruit for this luscious Sauvignon Blanc comes from our Bale Lane vineyard, which lies just north of the winery. Often among the first of the vineyards to be picked, Winemaker Danielle Cyrot likes to harvest the grapes at a lower sugar content to retain the acidity and freshness of this wine.
The grapes were hand-picked and whole cluster pressed to preserve their wonderful exotic fruit flavors and aromas. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks at very cold temperatures and malolactic fermentation was inhibited to retain the bright acidity and minerality. After fermentation was complete, Danielle drew off five percent of the juice into new Hungarian oak barrels for four months. This touch of oak imparts another layer of complexity to this wine, including slight floral notes on the nose and a lengthy mid-palate.
About The Winery:
The philosophical approach to winemaking at St Clement is all about the land of Napa Valley. Much has been written about the idyllic nature and diversity of this 50-mile long valley. It is this diversity that forms the foundation for our approach to winemaking.
As an artist holds many colors on the palette to create subtle hues, we hold a collection of vineyards from the north in Calistoga to the south in Carneros and from the alluvial benches of the valley floor at Rutherford to the cloud clinging heights of Mt Veeder.
We take the fruit from this collection of small, independent growers to balance, blend and build our wines into totalities that mirror the complexity and beauty of the Napa valley itself.
About The Winemaker:
Danielle Cyrot – Winemaker, St. Clement Vineyards – As the third decade of her life begins, Danielle Cyrot brings a broad scope of international winemaking expertise that extends well beyond her age. And as the descendant of French vignerons whose history goes back for centuries, she is also renewing an enological tradition that had been dormant for three generations.
Appellation: Napa Valley
Harvest Dates: August 20, 2007
Vineyard: Bale Lane
Bottling Completed: March 2008
Release Date: April 2008