Long Meadow Ranch Winery2005 Sauvignon Blanc
(Rutherford ~ Napa Valley)
This is the first white wine from this heretofore red producer. Long Meadow Ranch, headed by Ted Hall, who was the last head of the Robert Mondavi Corporation before it sold to Constellation, has a dynamic farm in the Mayacamas Mountains above Rutherford. He not only raises animals, makes olive oil, grows fruits and vegetables, and produces wine, he does so organically.
This Sauvignon Blanc can now be placed among a growing pantheon of excellent Napa Valley wines of its type. The wine is grassy with green, sour berry and lime peel aromas. On the front of the palate we have grapefruit and lime zest notes with crisp acidity. It’s a bit green now because of its youth, but the gestalt coalesces with its edges smoothed due to the addition of 5 percent malolactic fermentation and sur lie ageing.
Winemaker Ashley Heisey fermented 13 percent of the juice in neutral French oak barrels with the balance, tank-fermented. Best of all – the listed alcohol level is a mere 12.7 percent. Huzzah!
The grapes are sourced from an undisclosed Rutherford vineyard managed by respected viticulturist Frank Leeds from an area best known for its Cabernets. Only 550 cases were produced.
The release of this wine is most likely also due to the fact that LMR lost its entire bottled inventory from the 1994 vintage through ’02 in a warehouse fire last fall. It was among a slew of California wineries to befall the blaze.
Reviewed July 6, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.