Wine Last Sold on: January 7, 2013
Grgich Hills Estate
2010 Napa Valley Fumé Blanc
|Region:||California: Napa Valley|
2012 WINE INTRIGUE AWARDS WINNER:
Operatives’ Choice: Top White Wine of 2012
As our awards come to a close, we welcome you to day twenty-two of the 6th Annual Wine Spies Wine Intrigue Awards. Every year, our Operatives and our Agents choose their favorite wines of the past year. Today, we are very pleased to present our Operatives’ favorite white wine- of any that we showcased in 2012.
SUPER QPR ALERT:
At today’s special Wine Spies price, this wine delivers tremendous value - and a drinking experience that exceeds expectations, easily earning it this special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert.
Mission Codename: Crown Me Champion
- Agent Red
- Return to Grgich Hills Estate and acquire the latest vintage of the esteemed Napa Valley Fumé Blanc
- Mission Status
- Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
The 2010 Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Fumé Blanc is an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of tasting all year.
Great complexity on the nose and palate with a full and sturdy structure for a lighter white. Enjoy this wine with anything spicy, from Thai food to buffalo wings, or as the perfect way to welcome in the spring. This delicious white is drinking beautifully, right now.
Brilliantly clear straw-yellow with light pale golden and yellow streaks when held to the light. The color lightens only slightly along the edges. When swirled, random clusters of fat legs thin out as they descend, ringing the glass.
A blend of bright citrus, fresh apricot and green apple leads you in on the nose. These are followed by complex aromas of citrus, blossom honey and flowers, soft spice and subtle hints of green, grassy herbs.
This dry white is full-bodied with an exceptional and vibrant acidity that balances its weighty feel and sturdy texture that glides over the palate.
Fresh keylime and citrus fruit, tart green apple, apricot and tropical melon flavors all take center stage. These flavors blend with soft green herbs and grassy notes, with a touch of hot peppery spice that balances against the weighty texture and bright fruit.
Long clean and fresh, this racy wine leaves just enough of a hint of its bright fruit and other complex flavors to invite another sip.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points - The Tasting Panel - “She’ll trick you: this stunningly sleek white has what it takes to be a Sauv Blanc (citrus verve) but the weight, texture and honeyed character (a Riesling came to mind at second sip) speaks as much to the use of French oak as it does to the spending six months on the lees. But this 100-percent Sauv Blanc is a floral flirt, and her tone remains crisp and whetted our appetite with every bite of our meal”
93 Points - Wine Review Online - “Grgich Hills has a slightly different interpretation of Sauvignon Blanc than many others, which always makes me reach for it when I see it on a wine list. Theirs is slightly rounder, less edgy and frankly, more complex. The interplay of the pleasantly aggressive side of Sauvignon Blanc with the wine’s richly textured body keeps you coming back for more. A touch of intriguing spice makes it even more captivating”
90 Points - California Grapevine - “Medium-light yellow; intense, herbal, stylistic, rather aggressive varietal aroma with a light trace of sulfur; medium-full body; assertive, crisp, herbal, grassy flavors; lingering aftertaste. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”
San Francisco Chronicle - “Grgich taps estate parcels in American Canyon and Carneros for this racy but deep-flavored effort. The 2010 is paricularly dramatic, full of verbena, kaffir lime, apricot and melon flavors, with an intense freshness but subtle weight. They’ve embraced a style that transcends the old-time moniker—as even they seem to know, adding “Dry Sauvignon Blanc” on the label.”
About This Wine:
Relying on naturally-occurring yeasts, we fermented 80% of the grapes in 900-gallon French oak casks, called foudres, with the remainder in previously-used small French oak barrels. We then aged the wine six months on its lees (the spent yeast) in neutral barrels. The cool growing season produced crisp, yet rich, favors of lychee, jalapeño and white pepper that are perfect with a wide range of food, including green salad topped by Chèvre cheese, grilled seafood, and spicy Mexican or Asian cuisine.
Vintage: Cool and long sum up the 2010 growing season. Spring temperatures were below average with above average rain, pushing back budbreak by two weeks. The cool temperatures continued into summer allowing for steady but slow grape ripening until a series of heat spikes brought much-needed heat to ripen grapes to full maturity.
Vineyard: All of our vineyards are certifed organic and Biodynamic®. This holistic farming practice uses the earth’s natural cycles and organic preparations to grow balanced, healthy vines without artifcial fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. Our Sauvignon Blanc grapes come from our American Canyon and Carneros vineyards in the southern tip of Napa Valley, near San Pablo Bay, which spills into San Francisco Bay. The coolness restrains vigor and allows the grapes to develop a crisp liveliness that is impossible to achieve in warmer areas. About 80% of our Sauvignon Blanc is planted to the Musqué clone, which provides elegant foral aromatics.
Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Total acidity: 7.1 g/L
Fermentation: indigenous yeast
Time in oak: 6 months on lees in neutral barrels
Type of oak: French oak 20% neutral barrels, 80% 900-gallon casks
Harvest date: September 17-28, 2010
Sugar: 23.1˚ Brix (average)
Bottling date: April 11, 2011
About the Winery
Victor of Paris Tasting
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.
Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.
We treat each of our six different wines as a special child, carefully nurturing their development and character. Our pride and joy is our Chardonnay, an elegant example of the varietal displaying rich flavors and exquisite balance. As a complement to the Chardonnay, we also produce a refreshingly crisp Fumé Blanc, a rich and spicy Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon with tremendous depth and complexity, a lush and richly fragrant Merlot, and a luscious dessert wine named “Violetta,” in honor of Mike’s daughter, Violet.
Now 89 years old, and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into the Vinter Hall of Fame in 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry. While many other Napa wineries pursue strategies of expansion, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small. Their aim, year after year, is to improve the quality of their vineyards and their wines, relying on Mike’s unique artistic and intuitive touch. This strategy continues to pay significant dividends.
Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and the art of winemaking to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines.
Beginning with the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines were labeled “Estate Grown.” This guarantees a consistently superior level of quality and it means that Grgich Hills will always remain a shining symbol of prestige and good taste. In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.