Carl Roy

2006 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

April, 2008
108 buyers
145+ cases
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Sauvignon Blanc GrapesWhy We Chose It
Sometimes it's backwards. Usually, these special wine discoveries are products of one person's vision for his vines in a single harvest. The winegrower plays the hand he holds. But occasionally, we find really special wines that have been made by a winemaker who has a vision for a wine and then must find the vineyard that suits the vision. That's what Chad Alexander did with this beautiful Sauvignon Blanc from a most unlikely parcel.

Alexander was on a bit of a mission.
Instead of making another fruity, straightforward Napa Sauvignon, he wanted more fine acid structure, a streamlined wine more like the best examples of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. He needed a site with morning sun and intense heat during the midday to guarantee both flavor and aromatic purity, but then somehow, magically, things would have to turn on a dime. The sun would have to disappear, providing late afternoon shade. Evenings had to be cool. This was the Napa Valley puzzle that Alexander (the former head winemaker at Robert Craig who has made the study of Napa's vineyards somewhat of a sourcing obsession) set out to crack.

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It turned out to be something of a struggle. Then one day, while driving down the back side of Howell Mountain (we took this drive with Chad -- good idea to ride the rental car brakes on the way down!), he eyeballed a vineyard a few hundred feet from the Howell Mountain line. Alexander had spent years making Cabernet from Howell Mountain, knew the special spice provided by the AVA's soil. The soil composition at the site was highly mineral and the old, dried river bed on which the Sauvignon was planted was littered with cobblestone. Alexander had hit pay dirt.

After reserving fruit for the 2006 harvest, Alexander laid out his winemaking plan, again entirely focused on bringing the Kiwi out of Napa Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was picked at night and these cold clusters were then pressed on a very delicate, long press cycle to maintain fine fruit purity. 65% of the wine remained in stainless steel after fermentation, while the other 35% was racked into 2-year-old French barrels where it stayed for just three months -- adding texture and breadth -- before bottling.

Carl Roy Label Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
2006 Carl Roy Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
"Fresh, bright golden apple aromas. Lots of breadth on the palate with excellent fruit intensity. Layers of fruit are fine and take time in the glass to unfold. Full-bodied and powerful, yet clean with NZ-like vibrancy on the finish. Drink this spring and summer with salads, grilled salmon and tuna. Fabulous party wine."


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