Wine Last Sold on: December 4, 2008
2007 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc
|Region:||California: Napa Valley|
|Total Allocation:||Extremely Limited|
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The Winery Says:
Quntessa, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards and Accolades:
93 Points & Editors Choice – Wine Enthusiast
92 Points – Wine Spectator – “Deliciously intense, juicy pineapple, mango, guava, sweet pea and melon flavors are focused, with a wonderful, juicy acidity and flavors that continue to push on the finish. – James Laube
About This Wine:
Desirous of a white wine from Quintessa that he could enjoy at home with friends and family, Agustin Huneeus planted a half acre of Sauvignon Blanc at the Quintessa estate in 2002. This small plot of vines lives in the alluvial soils on the northwestern corner of the estate near the river where airflow and cooler temperatures encourage the grapes to thrive. We searched for more grapes from nearby vineyards seeking only those whose grapes showcase the flinty, mineral notes and bright character. Agustin shares this limited production wine with kindred spirits seeking illumination via wines that express their place of origin.
Winemaker Notes: Fresh stone fruit and intriguing floral aromas are underlain by hints of herbs and ripe figs. In the mouth, a bright acidity supports the lush entry and supple, round mid-palate, extending to a long, lingering finish. – Charles Thomas, Winemaker
Vinification: Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Quintessa and neighboring vineyards were hand harvested in early September and whole-cluster pressed. The wines were fermented with mostly native and some cultured yeasts. A portion of the wine was fermented in neutral oak barrels, contributing texture and body without sacrificing vibrancy and purity of fruit. Semillon provides richness and roundness in the mouth to complement the vibrant, tangy Sauvignon Blanc. Lees stirring in tank and barrel added to the wines depth and complexity.
About The Winery:
In 2002, Valeria and Agustin Huneeus’ dream of the Quintessential Wine Estate, one vineyard that produces one singular estate wine, was realized with the opening of the winery at Quintessa. Walker Warner Architects of San Francisco designed the winery to reflect Agustin and Valeria Huneeus’ desire for an inconspicuous structure that would blend into the contours of the property. The graceful crescent-shaped design was carefully considered for its environmental sensitivity and fits snugly into an eastern-facing hillside, disrupting little in the way of the aesthetics or natural beauty of the property. A facade of indigenous stone and natural landscaping of native plants and oak trees creates a subtle presence amidst the diverse terrain.
Charles Thomas, Director Vineyards and Winemaking – Charles Thomas joined the Quintessa team as winemaker in June 2007. He has a storied career with some of the most highly regarded wineries in the industry including Robert Mondavi Winery, Domaine Chandon, Cardinale and Rudd.
Charles embarked on his journey into the world of winemaking, starting literally from the ground up as he was studying at the University of California, Berkeley. His early experiences include installing vineyard irrigation systems throughout Napa and parts of Sonoma, operating presses and tending vineyards for Domaine Chandon, leading tours at Robert Mondavi Winery and buying the wines for the Sonoma Cheese Company.
In 1978, Charles joined Robert Mondavi Winery’s production department moving through positions including barrel enologist, senior enologist and assistant winemaker. After gaining a thorough knowledge of every aspect of winemaking he was promoted to head winemaker. He assisted in the creation, execution and evolution of Opus One from 1979 through 1994.
In 1994, Charles moved to Jackson Family Farms where he worked closely with the rebuilding of Cardinale’s vineyards and winemaking techniques. From there, he joined Rudd in 2002 where he directed changes to both the winery and vineyards. Charles lives on Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder at the vineyard property he shares with his wife, Lily.
VARIETALS: 76% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon
ORIGIN: Napa Valley
CASES PRODUCED: 1125
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 2008
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The Wine Spies Say:
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine is a stunning, terroir-driven Sauvignon Blanc that is super food friendly and simply delicious.
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Mission Codename: A Ray of Light
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of the Illumination Sauvignon Blanc.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Illumination – a wine made by the family owners of Quintessa
Wine Subject: 2007 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Charles Thomas
On the northwest corner of the Quintessa vineyard, along the river, in Napa’s Rutherford AVA lies a small plot of well-tended Savignon Blanc (with grapes also from neighboring vineyards – this wine is 76% Sauvignon Blanc and 24% Semillon), the fruit for which this exceptional wine is made. While, the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, this plot’s micro-climate of cooler air and unique soil produce ideal growing conditions. Combine this with handcrafted winemaking and the result will illuminate your palate.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Clear with light golden and straw yellow hues. A slightly viscous texture and evenly spaced thin legs ring the glass when swirled.
Smell – Clean and fresh aromas of tropical fruit and tangy citrus, including pineapple and grapefruit along with fresh ripe fig and a flinty minerality. Hints of spice and floral notes are also revealed as you explore the bouquet further.
Feel – Bright and crisp with tart tangy acidity and supple mineral components that cover the entire palate.
Taste – Juicy and tangy tropical pineapple and melon, tangerine citrus and ripe fig complement flavors of mineral flint and wet stone, a touch of spice and honey and a tiny floral hint as well.
Finish – Long and clean with its tangy tropical and stone fruit leading the way and lingering with spice and a touch of orange blossom honey.
Conclusion – The 2007 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc is a delicious wine with well balanced and integrated flavors that is still youthful and bright but has the makings of a wine that will continue to develop in its complexity over the next several years. Enjoy this wine with fresh or aged sheep or goat cheeses, grilled artichoke or grilled white fish.
Every once in a while, our missions are easy. Ops hands us a note with an exceptional winery of undisputed reputation and a wine that not only has broad accolades, but also our operatives have been asking for. Today is just one of those days.
When Valeria and Agustin Huneeus’ wanted to make the Quintessential Napa Valley wine they created Quintessa winery with its exceptional wines bearing the same name. It is in this light, pardon the pun, that they decided to illuminate our collective palate with a Sauvignon Blanc made from grapes found on a small corner of their vineyard, along with some of the best fruit from their neighbor’s vineyards. The result? A Ray of Light that shines ever so brightly beyond the typical California Sauvignon Blanc. The 2007 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc shows a strong connection to its exceptional Terroir but is also bright, crisp and lush. Given some time, this wine becomes ever so supple in its flavors.
If you are a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, this is a wine that you definitely want to stock up on. Exceptionally food friendly and with tremendous potential. I predict, that you’ll be coming back to this wine frequently.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the the Quintessa vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.