Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc

2016 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc

Wine Review Online, Robert Whitley

From the outset, Spottswoode was a heavy hitter in the Napa Valley. Its estate Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in St. Helena was coveted by other vintners, such as Duckhorn, and its Sauvignon Blanc vineyard was thought by the neighbors to be sublime. When the Novak family decided more than 30 years ago that they were ready to make the transition to producers instead of growers, they hired the brilliant winemaker Tony Soter. The rest is history. Soter moved on long ago but the Spottswoode wines are good as ever, if not better. The Sauvignon Blanc has undergone some changes, adding to the estate vineyard sources such as Stagecoach and Hyde vineyards. Winemaker Aron Weinkauf continues to use a combination of steel barrels (60 percent) and oak (35 percent) barrels during fermentation to increase lees contact for texture and complexity. Concrete cuves are used for the remaining five percent. Spottswoode’s innovative approach and attention to detail results in a Sauvignon that is both unique and in some ways in a class by itself. The 2016 vintage is a beautiful wine that delivers a creamy texture along with classic Sauvignon flavors of tangerine, white peach and lemon zest. 96 points (December 26, 2017)

The Press Democrat, Peg Melnik

A well-crafted Sauvignon Blanc with refreshing stone fruit, this sauvignon blanc leads with notes of peach and nectarine. It’s round and creamy, yet buoyed by bright acid. Top rate. 4 Stars (April 11, 2018)

The Nittany Epicurean blog, Michael Chelus

This wine is 100% sauvignon blanc with 40% of the fruit coming from Napa and 60% coming from Sonoma Mountain. 60% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, 35% was fermented in French oak barrels (15% new) and the remaining 5% was fermented in concrete. The resulting wine comes in at 14.2% ABV.

The wine showed a light golden color. Grapefruit, lemon candy, apple, hay, limestone and whiffs of stone fruit all arrived on the nose. Grapefruit, lemon zest, apple, wet river rock, hay and dried apricot arrived on the citrus-driven palate. The wine exhibited electric acidity and good minerality, along with good structure and length. It would do well as an aperitif and would pair nicely with freshly shucked oysters or a shrimp and sea bass ceviche. (March 29, 2018)

Food & Wine, Ray Isle

People rarely think to cellar Sauvignon Blanc, but this lemon-guava scented version from one of Napa Valley’s most historic producers only becomes more compelling over time. It’s fully drinkable now, but stash it away for four or five years and then give it a try. (January, 2018), Wilfred Wong

For three decades, the Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc has been hidden in the cellar. While the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon ranks amongst the world’s finest efforts, its white counterpart has been just truckin’ along as its top-notch silent partner. One should never pass up the opportunity to acquire this wine. The 2016 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc starts out showing its alluring aromas of dried citrus, ripe melon, and wild herbs. One begins to feel the wine’s vitality as it envelops the palate with exciting energy and persistence. The finish is bright, crisp and lasting. Pair it with linguine and clams accented with the freshest Italian parsley. Best Served: 2017-2021. 95 points (February 9, 2018)

Wine Review Online, Mary Ewing-Mulligan

“How high can you score a Sauvignon Blanc?” my fellow taster and I mused. Can a mere Sauvignon Blanc attain scores worthy of white Burgundy, for example? Philosophical discussions of quality and scoring aside, we acknowledged that we are not accustomed to finding Sauvignon Blanc wines from California that even raise those issues. In this wine, we had found one.

Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery needs no introduction to those who follow fine California wine. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon…is one of this country’s best and most elite Cabs. The estate vineyards are mainly devoted to Cabernet and other red Bordeaux varieties, but for thirty years they have included a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc vines. To make its Sauvignon Blanc, Spottswoode also sources grapes from other renowned vineyards in both Sonoma County and in Napa Valley, such as Hyde, Farina and Stagecoach. Spottswoode winemaker Aron Weinkauf ferments these grapes in a creative mix of stainless steel barrels (for 60 percent of the wine), French oak barrels (for 35 percent of the wine, of which 15 percent are new) and concrete cuves (5 percent of the wine). Site complexity, clonal complexity, fermentation complexity and high standards have created a brilliant Sauvignon Blanc wine.

The wine’s fresh, pronounced aroma evokes citrus, tropical and stone fruits: Lemon and grapefruit mingle with melon and guava, and with nectarine. In your mouth, the wine is dry and nearly full-bodied with creamy texture and vibrant acidity. Its flavors are concentrated and vivid, echoing those in the aroma, with mango and herbal notes joining in; these flavors are enduring on the palate as you hold the wine in your mouth. Nothing about this wine says ‘oak’ except the rich texture and the slightest note of toast on the finish; in fact the purity and intensity of flavor skews this wine toward the unoaked stylistic camp. Dry, rich, extremely flavorful, with great depth and enduring length: this is a Sauvignon Blanc that offers the ready expressiveness of the variety and yet is actually an important wine. 93 points (February 13, 2018), James Suckling

This is a bright and linear white with sliced green apple, lemon and mineral. Medium to full body with tangy acidity. One of the benchmark sauvignon blancs of California. Drink now. 94 points (November 29, 2017)

Vinous, Antonio Galloni

Spottswoode’s 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and vibrant on the palate, yet also has quite a bit of supporting structure to back things up. The lemon peel, white flower and crushed rock flavors are beautifully delineated. I would generally prefer to drink the Sauvignon Blanc young, but I have tasted enough vintages with bottle age to know the wine has more than enough pedigree to develop nicely for at least a number of years after release. 2018–2024. 92 points (March 2018)