2017 Martin Ray George Vineyard Dutton Ranch Sauvignon Blanc
Located just north of the Dutton family home ranch, with its back to Green Valley Creek these young vines, which have only produced their third vintage, have again exceeded our expectations and earned their rank among our single-vineyard tier. Grown on the flats of the Green Valley, the vineyard's excellent exposure, consistently cool temperatures and well-draining soil add up to the perfect trifecta to showcase the unique character of the Musque clone Sauvignon Blanc.
After several years of drought, California and its growers were delighted to receive record setting rain and a return to normalcy during the winter season. Cooler temperatures offered the vines a longer winter slumber, pushing back budbreak to mid-March, with spring temperatures carrying into May. Heat spikes in early summer led to veraison beginning early July. Hotter than average days brought ripening, but diurnal shifts overnight gave the fruit much needed time to recover. Harvest came abruptly mid-August with lower than average yields, but complex fruit with expressive aromatics.
Careful timing is required when harvesting the Musque clone of Sauvignon Blanc, because too early can lead to green, unripe flavors, while harvesting beyond peak physiological ripeness can mean losing the floral characteristics that set the clone apart. This vineyard was hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed early in the season, then put to neutral French oak barrels with a passive yeast strain intended for slow, cool fermentations and maintanence of the fruit’s natural distinction. Fermentation is stopped immediately upon reaching dryness, and not allowed to go through malo-lactic fermentation in order to preserve its bright tropical and floral aromas.
The cool climate and specific clone exemplify this wine’s aroma of zesty lime, gooseberry, with under ripe kiwi and tangerine pith, accented with hints of pomelo on the finish. Its acidity plays out on the edges of the palate as clean and concise, while accenting its vibrant midpalate and fresh finish.