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Franciscan Estate Napa Valley
Sauvignon Blanc 2011

In a winemakers quest to produce a rich, supple Sauvignon Blanc, Janet Myers of Franciscan Estates took this wine on a little trip where the Loire meets New Zealand via Napa Valley. The Franciscan 2011 stands to be one of the best balanced Sauvignon Blanc’s that I have tried in years. Janet’s worldly trip has paid off!

Located right off Hwy. 29 in Oakville ~ the heart of the Napa Valley ~ is Franciscan Estates Winery. As big a winery as they are and as popular a household name; they do remain a “small-lot” winemaking company. They believe in their craft and have been making wines for over 20 years. They make them exceptionally well and stay true year after year. I have had the pleasure of visiting the winery on several occasions. It’s a must stop if you are planning a wine country trip to Napa Valley. Easy access and on the way to many other places for convenience factor.

The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine with 100% stainless steel tank fermentation. This wine provides a classic example of what small-lot winemaking can be all about. Franciscan sources out grapes from multiple sub-appellations in the Napa Valley. The fruit from the areas that offer mineral character; they gently whole-cluster press & process with slow, cold fermentation in tanks to capture the purity and minerality. (Loire Valley effect)) The fruit from vineyards that offer rich, expressive flavors is allowed to stay in contact with the skins for 6-8 hours to promote the lime and lemongrass flavors. (New Zealand effect). These two “batches” of wine, if you will, (lots) are combined to make one incredible Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of complexity, which makes for sipping enjoyment and food pairing fun!

When poured, the visual appearance on this Sauv Blanc is classic. Light, clear, straw yellow. Upon swirling you get an amazing nose of ripe apricots and pears. Big, big tropical fruit that jumps out of the glass. Sipping brings on the big pear and apple up front with outrageous acidity. Most interestingly is the wine has such a full mouthfeel for being so acidic and juicy. That amazing balanced trip I spoke of earlier. A luscious, long finish with lemon and mineral on your tongue. Simply sublime. I can only give this Franciscan Estate Sauvignon Blanc a FIVE BOTTLE Rating and nothing less. It’s the best I have tried to date. Worth every penny you might spend, although it does not cost a lot. Average retail is at $16.99, I have seen online specials for cheaper and sales at retail stores.

If you love Sauvignon Blanc’s then you must scout this one out. It’s so wonderful with food or on its own. Franciscan Estates might make trips around the world when making a bottle of wine….but they always end up finding their way back to California…Franciscan Estate 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ~ A fabulous example of what Napa Valley can do these days with the “straw colored grape”!









**   Sample courtesy of Folsom & Associates   **