Behind the Making: Josephine Sauvignon Blanc and Rose

Posted: April 15, 2015

We’ve just released our 2014 vintages of our new Sauvignon Blanc offering, which we’re calling Josephine, and our Rose. They are both bottles reflecting a new perspective working with our estate fruit. We asked Winemaker Peter Heitz to share with us the story behind the making of these wines.

What do we mean when we say we made our 2014 Rose with intention? It starts in the vineyard, when we pick the fruit at lower brix levels to allow us to make a balanced wine from the start, and be mindful to produce a wine with a lower alcohol level. In the cellar, we press whole cluster – a more gentle process – and get the skins away from the juice quickly to preserve that fresh, lighter color. This process lets the fruit really sing on its own. Rose is less forgiving and more transparent (almost harder to make than a red wine!) and has less flavor density, so you have to handle every step along the way with a soft touch. You have to really focus on getting it right. It’s essentially a fresh capture of the vintage.

When is the moment right for Rose? All the time! Truly, throughout the year, although it’s so good that it rarely lasts that long. Rose is meant to be a food-friendly wine, and we crafted ours that way. It can go great with a Thanksgiving meal (if it lasts!), though people often see it as summer wine. Truth is, it’s a flexible wine that can pair well with many flavors.

How would you describe our new Josephine Sauvignon Blanc? It’s a vineyard-driven wine, and expression of our key white wine varietal that we grow here. Where our classic Sauvignon Blanc bottling is crisp, lean and fresh, this wine has more weight and richness. The fruit harvested from that one small block at the home ranch sits near an alluvial fan, so there’s some interesting influence from the soil that gives us good acidity. The fruit was more sun touched, golden. We highlighted that richness with neutral oak to give a broader surface area and depth to the wine. A true project of passion and labor, we then put the wine on its lees and stirred frequently to give a richer mouthfeel. It’s basically the qualities of our Classic bottling with more rich and round tones (apples, pears, passionfruit) and palate density.

What makes it worthy of its own bottling? We wanted to show another realm of what Sauvignon Blanc from our estate vineyard could do. It’s our signature profile, and we made it with the idea of exploration and evolution of the varietal. It’s made in super limited quantities, and it reflects the perfect coming together of sugar and acidity of the fruit in 2014. It’s really something special.