Our Newest Sauvignon Blanc
It still feels like summer here in the Livermore Valley, but a slight chill is beginning to accompany those strong Pacific Ocean breezes which define our region’s Central Coast terroir. At Wente Vineyards, this is the transitional time of year when we start reaching for bottles that bridge the season – we crave wines that are as refreshing as they are complex.
Luckily for us, our Director of Winemaking, Elizabeth Kester, has a new trick up her sleeve in the form of this Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is one of Elizabeth’s favorite wines to drink and make, and this small production version (just 22 barrels!) was crafted to showcase the best version of this exceptional grape.
An inaugural release, Elizabeth harvested this wine from carefully selected blocks from our sustainably farmed estate. With their east-west valley orientation, these sites benefit from warm days and cool nights that are influenced by fog and breezes from the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The grapes are handpicked and sorted at harvest time, ensuring the wine’s artisanal quality is preserved from grape to glass.
Elizabeth Kester has been making wine with Wente Family Estates since 2010 when she started as an intern before working her way up to her current role as Director of Winemaking. A proven leader in her field, Elizabeth creates delicious, elegantly balanced wines that express true varietal typicity and honor the sense of place where the grapes are grown. After multiple travels to Bordeaux, the Rhône, and Burgundy in France, she has been inspired by the singular terroir she now works with in the Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco.
The culmination of all that expertise is evident in this Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc – a polished, textured wine brimming with green melon, key lime, and guava woven together with very subtle oak spice and a deep and rounded finish. As expected, it pairs beautifully with dishes that are perfect for early fall evenings, like lobster bisque, seared scallops, or a creamy brie with figs and crispy pancetta.
We sat down with Elizabeth to learn more about what she’s calling one of her favorite wines she’s ever made.
What inspired you to make a Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite grapes to work with (and drink!), so of course, it was something we wanted to showcase in a limited release. Working with only the very best vineyard plots, we think we’ve created the ultimate expression that shows off the very best of what this grape can do.
Where did you source the grapes?
These grapes come from two of our most prized Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. The first is our Mel block, named in honor of Louis Mel, who brought Sauvignon Blanc cuttings back from Bordeaux’s hallowed Château d’Yquem. The other is our Eric’s block (named for fourth-generation winegrower Eric Wente) in the rolling hills of Arroyo Seco in Monterey – just steps, in fact from an actual arroyo.
Can you tell us a little about making this wine?
The lots were fermented separately, some in stainless steel tanks to preserve the grapes’ natural freshness and some in neutral French oak barrels to provide some roundness and subtle spice. We also aged this sur lees for four months to create complexity and depth before bottling.
What makes this Sauvignon Blanc unique?
Sauvignon Blanc is incredibly expressive of its terroir, so each lot was picked at the optimal time to capture different qualities of what the grape can do. For example, an earlier pick will highlight the grape’s minerality and bright citrus qualities like grapefruit and lime, while a later pick will showcase the tropical guava and passionfruit characters. Since we make this wine in such limited quantities, we can blend pieces of each lot to create the perfect balance of all of those characteristics.
Why is Livermore Valley an excellent place to grow Sauvignon Blanc?
The Livermore Valley shares the same soil composition as some of the world’s most esteemed regions. We have some of the best soils to grow Sauvignon Blanc, much like those in the Graves region of Bordeaux in France. Those deep gravelly soils allow for excellent drainage, forcing the vine roots to dig deeper, helping concentrate the flavors in every grape.
Why do you enjoy making Sauvignon Blanc?
It’s one of the most fun wines for me to make! It is so naturally aromatic and beautiful. My favorite part of harvest is to smell each Sauvignon Blanc fermenter to see how every lot is doing, and it brings me joy to smell the wonderfully unique aromas wafting from each tank.
What would be your ideal food pairing for this Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile wines – it pairs well with so many things. My favorite pairing is with a book on a park bench, beach, or golf course between swings. It also goes great with briny seafood like oysters, late summer favorites like grilled peaches and burrata, or heartier fall dishes like roast chicken with lemon and fennel.
What are you looking forward to this harvest?
The sounds and smells. Our winery comes alive during harvest. The tank farm is bubbling with lively ferments that emanate these wonderful aromas, while the barrel rooms are just singing with that unmistakable sweet oak release.
We can’t wait to share this exciting inaugural release with you. With limited quantities, we do expect this wine type to be a favorite this fall! The 2021 Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc by Wente Vineyards is available now in the tasting room and online.
Shop Sauvignon Blanc
Buy 3 or more bottles of Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc for complimentary shipping in California or Nevada only. This offer ends on September 28, 2022 at 12pm PST.