I’m anticipating this being an interesting juxtaposition in styles… In addition to feeling Cab-producers have to be judged fairly harshly by their Sauvignon Blancs, I’ve always said there are two kinds of sauv-blanc producers: Bordeaux and Pinot. Bordeaux producers because they HAVE to, Pinot-producers because they WANT to. Painting in extremely broad strokes here, of course. To a lot of cab-producers, it seems like a necessary chore. And I have heard numerous interviews with pinot-producers saying after the painstaking duties of their main-event, sauv-blanc is a BLAST! Claiming it nearly “makes itself”. I have never made a SB, so can not qualify that statement. The added twist here is also: Daniel has started making Pinot, and Phil recently added a Cab to his roster. So… anyway…
The Daou is golden yellow: amber straw–with a full, rich nose. Buttery and voluptuous, with the notes of an oak programme. It honestly smells like Chardonnay–though crisper in the late-bouquet–with a touch of weedy grass.
The Velvet Bee pours bright, thin canary. Intense floral in the first smells, it deepens a buttery direction also, but this butter is caramelized and Christmas-spiced. More salted popcorn–maybe with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on. Green apple and Meyer lemon pull from behind, with a kiss of petrichor.
Back on Adelaida Mountain: the rich creaminess has increased with air and temperature. It REALLY feels like chard now. Full and thick on the palate, with a nice background of acidity balancing things out. Pear and quince accompany grapefruit for a perfect sweet-bitter mouthfeel, and the finish is long and rewarding, with a nice touch of tannin.
Meanwhile down in Happy Canyon: the breathed nose has clarified to an earthy wet-newsprint, still hinting at popcorn. Light and delicate in the mouth, it comes off less acidic than the Paso, less structured, no tongue-curling bite, crisp and beautiful–but not pushing the envelope. Quite Sancerre-like, the mineral playing a calm staccato, elevating it’s delicacy. Apricot and breathy citrus blow over in in a foggy mist. Finish is all light fruit.
Neither of these wines really slot as *typical* California sauv-blanc–as I suspected. COMPLETELY diverse approaches to both wine-making philosophy and marketing at work here. And, totally different demographics. Both good–in their own way. The Daou raises questions, but fits my suspicions–the Velvet Bee a welcome outlier.