2016 VASO Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
The 2016 growing season began with soil full of water, giving the vines access to a needed respite from 3 years of drought. The season began early with a warm April and May, promoting healthy canopies early in the season. The higher than average growth lead to extra work in the vineyards to keep the fruit zone open, which is critical for tannin development and reducing mildew pressure. Flowering occurred ideally in mid-May during warmer weather, resulting in a moderate to slightly below crop level. Veraison occurred early, allowing for a longer ripening period with plenty of time for flavor and tannin development. The summer heat was moderate with a few heat spells towards the end of the growing season, allowing for control of ripeness. This near perfect growing season yielded wine with great balance, precision, and depth of flavor.
We harvested our 1.64 acres of Hershey Sauvignon Blanc in three picks over the period of 13 days. Tradition has made this a “team” pick where all employees join for the first harvest of the season to pick, enjoy a meal and press the grapes. We gathered on August 25th to make a selective pass of only ripe golden clusters. On August 31st we made a second pass of the upper portion of the block that sits on bright red, well-drained soils. One week later, we harvested the last of the fruit on the north facing and coolest part of the block.
All lots were gently basket pressed to release the aromatics in the skins. The clean, flowing juice went directly to barrel for both native and inoculated fermentation in a mixture of new and neutral French oak. The lees were stirred for the first six months after fermentation to integrate the oak with the fruit and to build the body of the wine. The wine was only racked once for blending just prior to bottling.
The 2016 VASO Sauvignon blanc is vibrant and crisp, with intense tropical flavors on the entry, and a long, focused finish. Aromas of candied pineapple, chamomile, lemon cake and hints of fresh lemon thyme. The palate expresses juicy flavors of feijoa, ripe kumquat, and lemon tart demonstrating the perfect ripeness of the harvested fruit while capturing the classic minerality attributed to this Howell Mountain Vineyard. This Sauvignon Blanc is delicious now and will elegantly evolve over the next 5-10 years.
Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
100% Sauvignon Blanc
15 months in 14% new French oak, 40% Cement Egg
Ermitage, Baron (light toast)
January 17nd, 2018