Nalle Winery2005 Sauvignon Blanc, Hopkins Ranch
(Russian River Valley)
Doug Nalle is one of those rare winemakers who goes back long enough in his wine-loving life to remember when the endemic flavors of the wine were inextricably linked to the soil, where the hand of the winemaker was merely as guide, not dictator.
Now with his son, Andrew, assisting in the crafting of small amounts of superior wines, Doug’s Nalle Winery has a tiny handful of superb wines that all speak to the varietal and regional nature of their fruit. Sitting well back of the road in Dry Creek Valley, Nalle is a winery dedicated to purity of flavors that are not intruded upon by extraneous alcohols.
For that very reason, this Russian River Sauvignon Blanc may not appeal to those Americans who like their wines sweet, simple and quaffable. Here is a brilliant wine that’s more a cross between Sancerre with a trace of New Zealand, with a brilliant lime peel and mineral (flint?) nose, and a crisp, grapefruity finish.
Hopkins Ranch is not one that’s likely to pop up on your radar screen, but it’s a wonderful source of fruit that makes a style both Doug and Andrew find more fascinating than the broader, grassier Dry Creek fruit that can more easily be obtained from their nearby neighbors. This is a wine for Sauvignon Blanc purists.
Reviewed February 12, 2007 by Dan Berger.
Dan Berger has been reviewing wine for 30 years, always seeking character related to varietal type and regional identity. He has never used numbers to rank wine and doesn’t plan to start any time soon. He believes that weight and concentration aren’t the only worthy aspects of wine and is especially smitten by cool-climate and food-friendly wines that offer distinctiveness.