Sunday, August 8, 2021

Quivira Sonoma Dry Creek Valley Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Quivira Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019 - an unfortunate wine and cheese pairing ?

We discovered this Sauv Blanc label at dinner the other night at Carnivore and the Queen as a WBTG offering which we did not take up, but I picked up a bottle at Binny's, our wine superstore to try. We knew the Quivira label dating back to the 1990 vintage, of which we purchased a 6 liter large format bottle of Quivira Cabernet Sauvignon for son Alec's birth year vintage collection. We served this at his wedding eve rehearsal dinner gathering. 

Quivira has been family owned since its founding in 1981. Proprietors Pete and Terri Kight farm 63 acres of vines planted at Wine Creek Ranch, and another 26 at two sites close by. Quivira Vineyards produce primarily Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Rhône varieties.

Dry Creek Valley in remote northern Sonoma County is home to a wide range of wines—both red and white. One of the smallest AVAs in California, Dry Creek Valley has a terroir with a combination of ideal geography and climate, fertile, well-drained soils with long, warm days and cool nights.

While known for Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, the area also produces respectable Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah which is often found in blends with Zinfandel. 

Quivira Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019

For this Sauvignon Blanc, the producer touts this label. "All the elements of the world's best Sauvignon Blanc converge at Fig Tree Vineyard. The site is located at the confluence of two waterways, Wine Creek and Dry Creek. The wine's mineral freshness comes from the alluvial, rocky soils that have been scoured over millennia. The rare Musqué clone adds complexity and aromatic lift. Simply put, the right grape + the right place = Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc."

The winemaker notes on this release sum it up. "Classic straw color with traces of green on the edges complement the aromatic sensory overload. Crisp with citrus oozing onto your tastebuds with each sip. Flavors of green fig (ode to our name!), white grapefruit, golden raspberry, and Princess Anne cherry combine with a steely, refreshing minerality. Theres an earthiness and a touch of grass that balances this wine. The nuanced acidity makes this appealing now and, based on our decades of library Sauvignon Blancs, we are confident it will continue to hold well through 2028-2029. Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc is perennially racy making it a solid pairing with fattier dishes. It can also be savored with goat cheese ...."

Interesting that I opened this to try with a Bourgogne cheese. The wine overpowered the otherwise expressive cheese. The winemaker describes the wine as a 'sensory overload ... a touch of grass ... perennially racy ... nuanced acidity .. '. I encountered all these traits and considered the wine obtuse, angular and a bit over the top. I picked up the citrus and white grapefruit and steely minerality. I also picked up pleasant notes of sweet peach which tended to balance the otherwise obtuse flavor profile. 

This is a Quijote paradox ... like it or leave it ... 

Golden straw colored, traces of green on the edges, medium bodied, slightly angular forward citrus with a white grapefruit and hint of peach fruits with steely minerality and nuanced acidity and touch of grass on the tangy finish. 

While Wine Spectator gave this 93 points, I found it a bit over-the-top and gave it 87 points. Perhaps my ill fated cheese pairing undermined a fair evaluation. I've written in these pages about how a perfect wine and food pairing can amplify the experience, I guess it goes without saying that an imperfect pairing can/will also detract from the experience. Perhaps this was such a case.

RM 87 

Wine Spectator wrote "Verbena, beeswax and matcha green tea notes give way to a succulent, polished core of lemon curd, lanolin and quince flavors. Powerfully intense and focused, but the mouthwatering acidity keeps the flavors vivid, fresh and light-footed."
Wine Enthusiast gave it 91 points. They mention the peach notes, and the grassy notes and the acidity.
"From certified-organic grapes fermented in both stainless steel and neutral oak, this lovely and balanced wine tastes of peaches, white flowers and stones. Fresh, high toned and grassy, it lingers in both acidity and dried herb, impressing in both length and grace."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave it 90 points and mentioned the peaches, called it 'gregarious' and cited a 'musky perfume'.

"The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Fig Tree Vineyard has gregarious scents of guava, lychee, fresh herbs, warm peaches and musky perfume. The palate is light-bodied with a gently rounded texture and zesty acidity, finishing long and perfumed."

In the end, Cellartracker's and I agreed, as their community tasting averaged 87 points.