A Sauvignon Blanc vineyard within the cold Sonoma Coast AVA is unusual. Most growers seek out warmer regions and larg...Read more...
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A Sauvignon Blanc vineyard within the cold Sonoma Coast AVA is unusual. Most growers seek out warmer regions and larger yields for this varietal. Fortunately, John and Jean Hackenburg, owners of Hummingbird Hill Vineyards, were willing to think outside the box but inside the bottle when they planted this vineyard on their steep, windswept hillside along Petaluma Hill Road. The vineyard is ideally suited to Sauvignon Blanc, its westerly exposure providing enough warmth to assure even ripening. By late afternoon, the wind shifts off the Pacific, effecting a fast cool down, prolonging hang time and maintaining acid levels. The vineyard's volcanic origins accentuate the mineral character of the wine, keeping it fresh on the palate. Hummingbird Hill is planted to two Sauvignon Blanc clones: Clone 1 and Sauvignon Musque. Clone 1 contributes intense fig, pear and pineapple flavors, while Sauvignon Musque is the source of floral and mineral notes. Tasting Notes: This is an ideal aperitif wine, balanced and complex, with fig, pear and tropical fruit flavors. Our 2006 Sauvignon Blanc will complement a myriad of food pairings including grilled fish and fresh seafood, particularly oysters, crab, and lobster, grilled chicken dishes and a wide range of cheeses. The inspiration for this wine comes in part from our admiration for New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. The high acidity and low pH of these wines have found their way to Hummingbird Hill Vineyards and marry nicely with the lush fruit profile that is frequently found in Sauvignon Blancs from the Russian River. Our Sauvignon Blanc offers characteristics often found in one or the other but seldom in both. With that idea in mind, we present: "New Zealand meets Russian River on the Sonoma Coast." Anthony Austin, Winemaker May 3, 2007 The grapes were hand-picked in the cool early morning and pressed within a matter of hours. The fruit was direct pressed in whole clusters and transferred to a temperature-controlled stainless steel tank. After settling, the juice was inoculated with Assmanhausen yeast. This particular strain of yeast has the ability to express and maintain the purity of the fruit character of both clones. 35% of the wine was fermented and aged in French oak; the balance was cold fermented in stainless steel. We did not want to use ``new oak'' and risk losing delicacy and varietal purity, but at the same time we were seeking something beyond the limits of neutral oak. With this in mind, we approached a local barrel maker in Sonoma County and created the desired barrel effect by removing the heads and ``shaving'' the staves of four year old French barrels, then re-toasting both the staves and heads to our desired levels. The results are dramatic as this process develops a rich and complex palate along with a diverse range of spice components, without adding astringent wooded character that would clash with the delicate fruit. To gain further complexity, barrel lots were finished ``sur lies'' with hand stirring to add the warmth of the yeast flavors along with a hint of vanilla and toast. After five months in barrel and tank, the lots were blended and bottled.
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