Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dog Day Relief From A Happy Canyon Wine

In the warm, dog days of summer, when you're hot and dog-tired, it's nice to come across a completely refreshing white wine to welcome to your panting tongue.  It doesn't hurt that it has a winery dog on the label - although the dog is in the foreground of a vineyard scene, so it's really not a critter label.  That would have us barking up the wrong vine.

Cimarone 3CV Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is such a beast.  From the warm east end of the Santa Ynez Valley, in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County AVA, it spells relief in capital letters.  Three Creek Vineyard yields the grapes while winemaker Andrew Murray brings them home.

The Cimarone website reveals how the grapes were harvested.  "We picked at night and over a period of several weeks to eke out subtle nuances and diversity in ripeness profiles.  The riper fruit yields more tropical flavors, whilst the less ripe fruit contributes more acid with zingy citrus notes."  I love to see the use of "whilst" outside of Great Britain every now and then.

The wine is fermented in stainless steel for the most part - four percent is fermented and aged in oak.  Whole-cluster pressing of the grapes maximizes the herbal notes and the absence of malolactic fermentation maintains the crisp freshness.

It's yellow in the glass, a less intense shade of the crayon we used for coloring freshly mown grass as kids, and it smells like sweet respite is on the way.  A slight grassiness steps aside and makes way for aromas of lemons and limes a-plenty.  On the tongue, a brisk freshness bursts forth immediately, with flavors of citrus and cantaloupe.  The finish hits the mark with a zest of lemon.  Chill it, pour it, and take a load off your dogs.


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