Friday, August 28, 2015

California Sauvignon Blanc With Enough Nose For New Zealand

On the CrossBarn website, the label is described as “renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs’ innovative winery dedicated to crafting wines of stunning quality and exceptional value using sustainable vineyard practices and traditional winemaking techniques.” Hobbs' love of farm life, inspired by a childhood spent on his 150-year-old family farm in upstate New York, is the impetus behind the name of this label. The "cross barn" holds dear memories for him, and he keeps it alive in this line of wines.

Hobbs has placed the winemaking duties in the capable hands of Greg Urmini. His work with the 2014 vintage was made easier by an even-ripening growing season. Half of the grapes used in the CrossBarn Sauvignon Blanc 2014 are of the Musqué clone, which offers even more aromatics than usual. 87% of this wine was produced using stainless steel tanks, while 13% was ferment in oak barrels. There was no malolactic fermentation allowed, but the wine did rest on the spent yeast cells - sur lie - for four months.

I expected a California Sauvignon Blanc to taste fruity - the opposite of grassy. This CrossBarm Sauvignon Blanc plays the herbal card like an ace-high straight. New Zealandesque? Maybe, a bit. But there is more than the grassy aroma on the nose. The tropical fruit mows the lawn nicely, with pineapple and guava in abundance. A citrusy mineral note also plays into the bouquet. The mouthfeel is dominated a brisk acidity and that citrus angle, with apples and pears to boot. The herbal feel is certainly a major force, but not to the exclusion of the fruit. It is a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc which should please any New World palate.