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David M. Bueker

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WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by David M. Bueker » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:45 am

2017 Division Winemaking Company Sauvignon Blanc La Frontiere
Everyone knows I don’t like Sauvignon Blanc. The only time I “buy” it is when it is part of some club shipment. A bottle came in a recent club package from Division, and I “resigned” myself to opening it and trying the wine. Well, for the first time in a long time I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the wine. It showed none of the herbaceous/green elements that I detest. There was no grass, cilantro or green pepper. Instead there was ripe melon, quince, tropical fruit and fresh acidity that balanced out a surprisingly rich mouthfeel. I was wondering if there was a hint of Semillon or Chenin Blanc in the wine. Perhaps it was the use of a puncheon and some “neutral” (per the winery notes) barrels, in addition to some stainless steel that created the richer body of the wine. Ultimately it was delicious, and the first bottle of SB I actually finished off since a Vatan several years ago. Highly recommended.
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by Dale Williams » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:53 pm

Interesting, I'd like to try this (though I enjoy Cotats, Vatan, Boulay, Thomas-Labaille, and many more)
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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by Robin Garr » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:20 pm

Hey, who are you, and how did you get David's password? 8)

But seriously now ... thinking back to vineyard visits ages ago, isn't sun exposure and canopy management a big part of the recipe to rid SB of the green? The more sunlight, the less herbaceousness and the more juicy citrus?
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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by David M. Bueker » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:33 pm

No idea. But here is what they have to say about the wine.

It’s no secret that within the Willamette Valley the Eola-Amity Hills is one of the most special places in the U.S. for growing cool climate Pinot Noir grapes. It is definitely not and area very well known for growing Sauvignon Blanc, well, not yet. Myron Redford is as great a legend in Oregon’s wine industry as they come. He founded Amity Vineyards back in mid-1970s as a part of a group of pioneering young wine entrepreneurs that were building the start of the Oregon wine industry. Myron, always experimenting, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, with grapes like Gamay Noir, Riesling and yes, Sauvignon Blanc. He and his partner Vikki Wetle planted a small 7.5 acre certified organic vineyard on Jory, Yamhill & Woodburn soils at their home property in the Eola-Amity Hills in 2006, which includes the Sauvignon Blanc that dominates for our “La Frontière.” The organically farmed Allegre Vineyard, our first in the Columbia Gorge, makes up the remaining portion.

We are usually some of the first to make picking decisions each year as we seek to make wines that are lighter, more finessed, vibrant, but still with intensity and complexity. Sauvignon Blanc was a bit of a conundrum for us as it is notorious for demonstrating very green tropic and grassy “cat pee” like aromatics when not completely ripe. For this reason and because we just hadn’t tasted many versions made in the New World that were that compelling, we eschewed making Sauvignon Blanc in the past. Ultimately, this meant we would need to harvest at a more ripened level than is typical for us. Like in 2016, we were thrilled with the balance of acidity to ripeness of both sites of Sauvignon Blanc and are confident we have another special and uniquely Oregonian Sauvignon Blanc.

We created a pied de cuve (early native ferment) with a small amount of grapes to build a strong yeast population from the native flora for both sites. The wines were fermented “sur lie” in one puncheon (500L), five neutral white Burgundy barrels and a two stainless steel barrels. The ferments started and completed quite quickly in the puncheon and stainless barrel, while the oak barrels lingered and finished between December and January (2018). All were fermented dry, including the malolactic fermentation, which was completed this year.

Our second “La Frontière” demonstrates the clear Sauvignon Blanc characteristics, led by peach and pear notes and followed by lychee with snap peas or snow peas, enlivening the riper fruit notes. We thankfully stayed away from the dreaded “litter box” notes, as well as the Dole tropical fruit cup tendencies that seem to dominate the domestic Sauvignon Blanc scene. The palate is full and vibrant, with secondary notes of wildflower honey and orchard fruits, like quince. The wine is drinking very well out of the gate and is quite pleasurable and we’re looking forward to seeing the future of this bottling.
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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by Robin Garr » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:53 pm

Thanks, David. However they get there, it sounds good. I'll probably never see any in Kentucky, though. :cry:
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Peter May

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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by Peter May » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:51 am

David M. Bueker wrote:2 Ultimately it was delicious, and the first bottle of SB I actually finished off since a Vatan several years ago. Highly recommended.


Highly recommended to avoid, then, for SB lovers :)
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by David M. Bueker » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:53 am

Only if you just like drinking bad SB.
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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:30 pm

David, how do you get along with Semillon?
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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by David M. Bueker » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:33 pm

Better
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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by Peter May » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:19 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Only if you just like drinking bad SB.


You like this wine because its not typical. Therefore its not a wine for people who like SB.

That you don't like typical SB doesn't make it bad.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: In which I actually like a Sauvignon Blanc

by David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:14 pm

Wines that taste like grass and green bell pepper are good?

Please no.

You will never connive me that those wines are objectively anything other than flawed.
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