Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Mario Bazán Cellars, secure an ample allocation of their stellar, value-priced Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mario Bazán Cellars
Wine Subject: 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Victoria Coleman
For today’s wine, we sent Agent Red back to Mario Bazán Cellars, a Wine Spies instant favorite when we first featured them in 2011. Mario Bazán is been best-known for producing some of the fine Napa ValleyCabernet Sauvignon but today marks the our introduction of their brilliant Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc originally hails from the Loire Valley in France, but has found new homes in other parts of France (Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sauternes); New Zealand, and specifically the Marlborough region as well as California. It is generally dry and crisp with flavors of apples, pears and tropical fruit and tends to have bright acidity that lends itself well to pairing with spicy foods.
Look – Pale straw yellow hues from core to glinting edge. After swirling, the wine forms slow moving tears that begin very low on the glass wall.
Smell – A little shy when the wine is too cold, allow it to warm just a little and be rewarded with zesty citrus, fresh cut pineapple, slate minerals, pear and fresh herbs.
Feel – Round and very soft on entry. Then, almost immediately, the wine becomes gently grippy. Thisgrippy sensation begins at the mid-palate and then spreads its way outward, to where it eventually dries the lips and cheeks.
Taste – Bright and fresh, with lively, bold flavors that almost perfectly mirror the nose. Add to those (citrus, pineapple and pear), the flavors of lime, subtle sweetwood and the faintest hint of white pepper.
Finish – Flavors are long-lasting, with lingering lemon and pear that slowly yields to slate, lime and sweetwood. At the tail end, the gums feel a slightly warm white pepper sensation.
Conclusion – This is a delicious, value-minded treat that drinks well above its price class! With wonderful, fresh flavors, in a wrapper that is both complex and compelling, today’s 2010 Mario Bazan Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley is a wine that is well-worthy of your attention. Calling this wine food friendly would be to sell it well short of its true potential. This wine can be served with most meals, shining especially when paired with finer fare. But, don’t pigeonhole this wine as solely a food wine. This delicious Sauv Blanc is a delightful solo sipper, as well, delivering a refreshing, elegant experience. At today’s price, we’d recommend that you purchase enough to have some on hand – throughout the summer.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Victoria Coleman
WINE EDUCATION: Work experience, Napa Valley College, UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Production Asst.; Bazan Vineyard Management, Field Tech.; Bazan Cellars, Winemaker; Lobo Wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Winemaker; Darius Anderson, Winemaker
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Do as much as possible in the vineyard to balance the grape clusters with the number of leaves to reach near perfect ripeness with lots of character. Do as little as possible with the fruit in the cellar to allow it to give the wine a sense of time and place.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Wine is the essence of time and effort spent in the vineyard paying attention to every detail as you work with grapevines and Mother Nature.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: October 2008
AGENT RED: Greetings, Victoria. We are thrilled to be showing your 2010 Mario Bazan Cellars Sauvignon Blanc today. This wine is truly fantastic. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
VICTORIA COLEMAN: Thank you, Agent Red. I am happy to be back with you – and your Operatives.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
VICTORIA: Since Viticulture was my main interest, it wasn’t until I tasted my first of Mario Bazan Cabernet Sauvignon, right after the primary fermentation, that I said to myself “WOW”. I fell in love with that wine. Another experience was the first time I tasted the 1994 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
VICTORIA: Michael Silacci, winemaker for Opus One
RED: Who do you make wine for?
VICTORIA: Myself (until Mario tells me otherwise). Someone once told me you can’t please everyone. If I’m happy with what ends up in bottle, then I cannot be disappointed when others see it differently than I.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
VICTORIA: It’s 100 percent sauvignon blanc from a single vineyard located in Napa with slightly cooler growing conditions. After five years of making cabernet sauvignon, this was my first attempt at a white wine, so this is a very special wine to me.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
VICTORIA: Pan-seared scallops or grilled seafood!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
VICTORIA: Rocks, soil, water, and the many micro climates from which to consider to achieve a specific style of Sauvignon blanc.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
VICTORIA: Bottling preparation of the red wines and a lot of barrel tasting to finalize the 2012 barrel plan.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
VICTORIA: Expect to fall in love … No, really, keep an open mind and have fun with my wines. I’m making wine in China now, so I can honestly say that.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
VICTORIA: Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and to taste the wine. I hope everyone enjoys this wine as much as I do!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans.
The location of Silenus Vintners where you can taste the great wines of Mario Bazán Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.