Rombauer Vineyards has long been a staple for classic California-style Chardonnay from Napa Valley. This year though, Director of Viticulture and Winemaking Richie Allen decided to bring a bit of diversity to their collection, with the addition of their inaugural nationally released Sauvignon Blanc. Released in early February, the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is the first varietal Rombauer has added to their collection since their Zinfandel's debut back in 1990. My interests were piqued, to say the least, as I have always known Rombauer as a Chardonnay house.
When I dived into the Sauvignon Blanc, I learned that the grapes were sourced from four Napa Valley vineyards with alluvial soils; the climate of these vineyards is moderate and full of sunshine—well suited for Sauvignon Blanc. Once picked and whole-cluster pressed, the grapes underwent fermentation in a unique combination of 90% stainless steel tanks and 10% neutral French oak barrels. I have to say that I like the addition of the 10% neutral barrel fermentation, as it gives the wine a bit of roundness at mid-palate that I find quite pleasurable.
As only the second white wine that Rombauer Vineyards has to offer and a nice contrast to their richer Chardonnay, this Sauvignon Blanc is poised to draw more guests into the tasting room with its decidedly fresh and zesty style. To be honest, I expected a riper expression of Sauvignon Blanc, given its Napa Valley heritage. However, Rombauer Vineyards' 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is quite refreshing and full of lively fruit flavors that do not taste overripe at all.
The wine initially gives up tropical aromas on the nose, but then gently airs out into more honeydew melon, green pineapple, lime, grapefruit and lime blossom notes. On first sip, the palate is graced with a refreshing wave of freshness, acidity and a crisp mouthfeel. The fruit is much more citrus-driven than the nose, with lemon and lime zest leading the way, followed by green melons and white stone fruits lingering in the background. With more air and as it warms in the glass, the lemon and lime become stronger, coupled with bright grapefruit characteristics. The mid-palate has brief but nice creaminess, which I really enjoy from a textural standpoint, and the length finishes with good acid.
This is definitely a Sauvignon Blanc for lovers of crisp, refreshing white wines. The release of this wine is right on track as we just begin spring. We've already seen 70-degree days full of sunshine and blooming mustard flowers. With a setting like this, who doesn't want a refreshing splash of Sauvignon Blanc in their glass?