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Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape that seems to have taken the world by storm of late. Originally coming from fabled Bordeaux, this grape is particularly interesting to me because it seems to be an intensely terroir-driven varietal, tasting very different in different places. In New Zealand, it’s known to be bright, and fruity, with lots of intense starfruit notes, while in the Motherland, it’s known for more massive fruit flavors and grassy characteristics. (that is, when it’s not made into the most sublime dessert wines I’ve ever tasted.)
So this Sauvignon Blanc from Passion Cellars is espeically interesting because it seems to my palate at least, to combine flavor and aromatic characteristics from both heartlands of this terroir-friendly grape.
The Wine: The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Passion Cellars was made with grapes coming from Dragoon Mountain Vineyards, near Willcox. The wine never saw oak, and was steel-aged and steel-tank fermented. There is no residual sugar present. It was bottled about a month ago, and was released into the tasting room in Jerome this week. The wine was made by Jason Domanico. It is a cheerful lemon yellow in color.
The Nose: The wine opens with a dramatic salvo of grass and starfruit, combining both classic Bordeaux and Marborough characteristics. Notes of peach, apple, and grapefruit also appear, intermingling with gardenia. After the wine has been opened for a time, notes of gooseberry and subtle cinnamon appear.
The Palate: Bright apple intermingles with starfruit and peach on the palate, with subtle touches of green pepper, sage, and passionfruit, with that classic limestone earth minerality of Willcox white wines. As the wine warms, notes of melon also emerge on the palate. It’s quite thirst-quenching in terms of acidity, and is also pretty full-bodied for a Sauvignon Blanc. The finish of this wine is also quite long, lasting for 38 seconds.
Pairing: Quail with herbs, or a nice slightly smoked chicken would pair nicely with this wine. For a vegetarian/vegan pairing, pair the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc with a slow-cooked Tomato tarte tatin, or some slow-cooked cheesy cauliflour. Oddly, it pairs well with Perique pipe tobacco.
Impression: I’m normally apathetic about Sauvignon Blanc elsewhere in the world (except in Sancerre), but Arizona produces some good stuff, as we’ve seen with the one Michael Pierce made, and it plays well with other grapes here as we’ve seen in the Mesa Blanco. I hate making value judgements, but I also am driven by honesty to declare that this really is among the best Sauvignon Blanc wines I’ve had coming from the US thus far.
This wine is a man prone to business casual and is quite savvy on a computer with trading stocks, but really enjoys hacking and computer programming a little bit more than his day job. He’s taking night classes so he can start a software company that makes the data on your spreadsheets come out as musical tones–just because.