Overview of the Wine
We first discovered, and were irretrievably drawn to this unique property in the late 1980’s. For over 20 years we have shared the beauty and mystery of Arkenstone with bear, coyote, mountain lion, rattle snake, scorpion and raptors of all sorts (as well as voracious grape eating wild turkeys). Remnants of native obsidian work, as well as walls made of local stone built during the 1800's, are constant reminders that we are just the latest inhabitants to appreciate and benefit from this land.
Our serious interest in wine and our families’ farming history perhaps made it inevitable that we would think about planting vineyards here. We knew we did not want to clear the site for an “industrial” vineyard but didn’t know whether the effort required of farming the small patches of open space using sustainable practices could be justified. Then, in early 1995, a good friend of ours, who grew up in a Napa Valley wine family and founded her own label, encouraged us. She arranged for an expert who consulted for top vineyards all over the world to come to the Napa Valley to evaluate a number of potential vineyard sites. He included Arkenstone on this visit. Test holes were dug, and on a cloudy wet day we tramped around the property talking about dirt, drainage, exposures, air movement, and, most importantly, the promise of the site. His conclusion was that wine grapes of very high quality could be produced here, and that Arkenstone was indeed a special site. We didn’t then know to say “terroir” but understood that the grapes and the wine from these vineyards could over time become a recognizable expression of our site, climate, farming and winemaking. We decided to make this promise a reality.
Grape / Blend
Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
Winemaker Tasting Notes
The Arkenstone Estate Sauvignon Blanc originally planted in 1997 is grown in 6 different very steep, very rocky, vineyard blocks on our Howell Mountain Estate. Choosing to plant only in the perfect patches of nutrient lacking, well-drained, white volcanic soils we are able to grow very concentrated, rich, but balanced, beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. Along with the Sauvignon Blanc in the lower part of our vineyard, we also farm a small block of Semillon which is blended with our Sauvignon Blanc. The percentage of Semillon will change each vintage, but the results are always consistent. The Semillon adds beautiful floral aromatics along with a bigger mid-palate that seamlessly complements and integrates with the Sauvignon Blanc’s natural notes of melon, citrus, and minerality. From our rigorous farming practices to winemaking to our final blend, this wine is very much our tip of the cap to the classic white wines of Bordeaux. As with all 13 acres of our Arkenstone Estate, the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are both farmed exclusively in-house using only organic farming techniques overseen by Winemaker Sam Kaplan.
94 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Estate is a blend of 94% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon, aged for 11 months in one-third new French oak, one-third once-used barrels and one-third concrete. It springs from the glass with vibrant scents of white peaches, grapefruit and underripe pears with hints of honeysuckle, chalk dust and yuzu. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with citrus and stone fruit layers plus a crisp backbone and satiny texture, finishing long and chalky. 550 cases were made.
Product size: 750ml