I love a good, clean Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux-country, and when you see “Santa Ynez Valley” on the label, you can bet that’s what you’re getting. Probably more than any other variety, SB has been almost unilaterally type-cast by New Zealand and supermarket plonk as HAVING to have the high thiol, pyrazine, or even sulphur compounds contributing to this oft-described nuance. I even tasted 4 Sancerres in a row the other day which shocked me at how headily they referenced this nuance which #influencer loves to giggle about and #winewriter is bent on earnestly explaining. And if you like those wines: good for you. But they don’t have to be that way. To wit:
Almost flourescent golden-canary in the glass. SOOOO much fruit in the initial nose: pear and peach and blueberry (I’ve always wondered why *blueberry* is universally used in red wine descriptors. Have you ever eaten a fresh one? Or studied its green, piquant, and rather flavor-less meat?). A few swirls exposes thick floral and smoky, wilted grass, covered with dew and mingled with broad-leaf herbaceousness. Cellar-floor reminds you it IS wine: a proud, elegant grape used in prized–and age-worthy–collectibles for centuries. Dense and peaty, the perfume coating everything. Even at 3, the concentrated patina of early age is impossible to ignore.
Tasting it proves why this is a heralded white variety. Thick–almost glycerin-y–entry rich with butter and sweet character. Applesauce, apricot and peach-fuzz bitterness clamor loudly for attention above grapefruit minerality and salted-pretzel toastiness. The whole package is distinct, direct, and delicious–but not flamboyantly yummy. Green and writhing over the middle, it builds–and collapses–in a glorious heap of tannin, shrill and steely, toasted almond maintaining the rich outline prescribed from the beginning.
I think there’s probably a touch of Semillon in this, and that certainly will NOT get marks off from this reviewer. A classic nod sealing a CLASSIC sauv-blanc. You NEED wines like this to change your mind-set on this variety.
2018 VELVET BEE Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 80/20 Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 13.47