Monday, April 10, 2017

San Simeon 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Paso Robles

San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc 2

It’s always time to celebrate when a winery launches its first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc. Even better when the vino is coming from Paso Robles…

3… 2… 1… Liftoff!

The Riboli family is no newcomer to the wine business. They started making wine in California in 1917. The enterprise has grown from the initial winery in Los Angeles to multiple brands.

The San Simeon label focuses on two diverse California regions: Paso Robles and Monterey. They recently recorded a first, with their debut vintage of a Sauvignon Blanc.

Batonnage Complexity

The 2016 vintage of San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc is a great example of why Paso Robles is proving to be an ideal home for whites – not just robust reds. The grapes come from a San Simeon estate vineyard, specifically the Margarita Vineyard. The hillsides are steep and the warm days and cool nights of Paso Robles enables Sauvignon Blanc to thrive.

In 2016 the weather was almost perfect, with a long growing season that provided great “hang time” enabling the grapes to develop more depth of flavor. Fourth generation winemaker Anthony Riboli paired with French-trained winemaker Arnaud Debons for this vintage. They use traditional techniques in crafting the wine including long, cool fermentation in steel tanks to preserve the delicate flavors of this white wine.

After fermentation, 10% of the wine was transferred to neutral French oak barrels and batonnage was used. Batonnage is the stirring of the lees (dead yeast cells and grape solids) to add texture and depth. This is a step that adds life and character to a white wine.

In The Glass

The San Simeon Sauvignon is a natural partner for seafood and the winery specifically mentions swordfish. Outstanding! Also suggested is Pesto Di Basilico, a traditional Italian dish of basil pesto over linguine. The bright acidity and liveliness of the Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with the aromatic garlic and basil characteristics of the dish.

We tried this as an after dinner wine sans food. Like with Riesling, acidity is the key to a vibrant wine or a ho-hum experience. The acidity here provides a nice crispness to the wine without being jarring. There are hallmark flavors of pear and lime in each well-balanced glass.

The price point for the 2016 San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc is $18.95, a very good value. San Simeon also offers two other whites at the same price, a Paso Robles Viognier and a Monterey Chardonnay. If you’ve only quaffed Paso Robles reds, this is a prime opportunity to expand your wine horizons.

Full Disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.

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