80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon
Sourced from the Wente Estate Vineyard from vines planted in the 1880's from cuttings acquired from Chateau d'Yquem
The soil is thin, iron-rich clay underlain by 20-30 feet of gravel subsoil
Hand harvested, sorted, crushed and pressed into French oak.
The wine sees extensive sur lie aging and was racked, clarified bt bentonite fining and bottled unfiltered
Few winemakers in this country have attempted to produce a "Margaux" style Sauvignon Blanc, i.e., a wine which emphasizes the floral elements of Sauvignon Blanc combined with a complexity and depth which can only be derived from grapes grown on mineral rich, gravely soils. Critical to the success of this type of wine is the availability of grapes whose character goes well beyond simple varietal elements. These essential "extra-vinous" qualities are abundantly present in this wine, which typifies the more serious and classic style of Sauvignon Blanc wines ? a new opportunity to discover the nuances which can be achieved with this grape variety
The 2001 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, all from the Wente Estate in Livermore Valley. Leighton has been excelling with this wine for decades, and the 2001, at age 14, is an incredibly fresh, exuberant wine, with beautiful caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, lanolin, medium to full body, great acidity and a long, heady finish. This is a gorgeous wine that was bottled without filtration after aging sur lie in French oak, of which 50% was new. It will certainly last for at least another decade or more.
The 2001 vintage is the first bottling to be released from this parcel of one hundred year-old sauvignon blanc vines that the Leightons have found in Livermore Valley. The wine is drinking very nicely, but given my experience with the 1997 Sauvignon Blanc (please see below), I suspect that this wine is going to be even better with a bit more time to settle in after its departure from the cellars and its subsequent shipping. The bouquet today has a nice sheen of honey to its aromatic constellation of apricot, tangerine, gentle notes of petrol citrus peel, a delicate touch of walnut, lovely soil tones, just a whisper of lemongrass in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and nicely tertiary in profile, with a fine core, lovely focus and grip and a long, poised and very well-balanced and complex finish. This is very tasty today and my gut instinct is it will be even better a year or two down the road. 2017-2035.
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