We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
It is difficult not to fall in love with Napa Valley wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is king, Merlot can be just as big, but what about the whites? Chardonnay absolutely rules the roost, but a more acidic and fragrant grape also happens to be right at home in the valley… Sauvignon Blanc anyone? I was never a huge fan of Sauvi-B until I tasted one out of the Russian River Valley last year that completely changed my mind on the grape and its tremendous potential. I typically prefer wines that are quite muscular and are not too shy to come out and slap you around a little. The wine up for review this time around is such a wine, one hailing from Napa Valley.
Rubia Wine Cellars began with two passionate individuals who had an opportunity to help harvest Sauvignon Blanc at a vineyard in Napa Valley in 2011. The “wine bug” was born and an enrollment at UC Davis in the Winemaking Certification program followed soon after for Margaret Valenzuela. Now, Joe & Margaret Valenzuela have their own label, Rubia Wine Cellars to call their own. The opportunity to sample and review a Sauvi-B from them was an exciting venture, and we are proud to bring you the results of the review.
This Sauvignon Blanc hails from Lovall Valley Vineyard in Napa Valley. Once the cork is removed, the aromas burst from the top of the bottle. What a nose! This wine is not a wimp, let me tell you that! The wine pours a pale straw color into the glass. The nose is extremely complex, offering notes of flowers, fresh cut lawn clippings, lime rind, grapefruit, and of course that tell-tale “cat-pee” aroma that most of us love in our Sauvi-B. As the wine opens up, the floral notes become less dominate and citrus really takes over.
The palate confirms the nose overall, but this baby is a powerhouse! Lime peel, lemon peel, mineral components, and a ton of salinity make up for a giant of a wine. Did I mention a big mouthfeel!? My only real nag here is the alcohol. It is a bit hot on the finish. I don’t particularly mind this, but people sensitive to higher alcohol and heat on their throat might find this to be a slight turnoff. If the alcohol was slightly more integrated, it would be near perfect in my book. The mouthfeel is grippy, and the grip hangs on all the way through the finish.
- Rubia Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 vintage
- Winemaker: Margaret Valenzuela
- Appellation: Napa Valley AVA, Lovall Valley Vineyard
- Grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc
- Barrels: Half the wine was aged in once-used Orion barrels, the other half was aged in a concrete egg
- Clarity/Brightness: Clear/bright, with no detectable flaws and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Low
- Acidity: High to very high
- Alcohol: High
- Finish: Very long
- Alcohol by volume: 14.1%
- Release date: Check rubiawinecellars.com for updates on the official release date for this wine
At the end of the day, this is a heck of a Sauvignon Blanc. If you like them big and fearless, this one is for you. If you are looking for gentle and smooth, look elsewhere. Too often I find this grape to be a bit bland and uninspiring, but this clearly is an example of exactly the opposite. It is lively, exciting, complex, and downright powerful to say the least. This would make for a great food wine, being muscular enough to pair well with lean meats, or a dish high in acidity and or salt. The most interesting part of this wine is the salinity flavor profile. The taste is like walking on a beach drawing in breaths of the salty ocean air.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.