Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara County
It’s said that a thoughtful pairing of good wine and good food is like 2 + 2 = 5, and I always have that experience with our sauvignon blanc. I’ve worked the same rows at McGinley vineyard since 1998, and I’ve come to adore its food-friendly and invigorating nature.
Per our usual regime for sauvignon blanc, we fermented and aged this wine in neutral French oak barrels with seven months spent on the lees with some stirring. I prefer the zippy and twangy potential of this grape, so again in 2016 we harvested it early to capture a citrusy edge, and as always, we blocked malolactic fermentation.
Depending on the vintage, McGinley provides a varying ratio of Loire-like herbal nerviness and rounder Bordeaux notes of tropical fruit and fig. Right now, this 2016 seems to tilt toward the former; the transition back to more coastal-influenced weather brought out a cooler, more taut and botanical kind of landscape. I generally start really enjoying our sauvignon blanc after a couple years in the bottle, but now, with some air (like reds, young quality whites greatly benefit when decanted) expect crunchy green melon, grapefruit rind, plus fresh mint and smoky minerals—all in a crispy fresh package that begs for some crackers and goat cheese!
We recently poured the 2006 sauvignon blanc on our tasting room’s Library Flight, which was a similar vintage. After twelve years in bottle that wine has terrific vibrancy and depth, just outstanding with some oysters! Get a case of this 2016 and save some for twelve years from now—I’m certain you’ll be pleased with its evolution.
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc | Alc: 13% | Vinification: Barrel Fermented in Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 9 Months | Total Production 632 cases
Sauvignon blanc has been dear to my heart since my start as a winemaker. When I was studying at UC Davis in the mid 70s I’d often make a jaunt to Berkeley to browse the shelves at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, and I’d often bring home northern Rhone syrahs and Loire sauvignon blancs to reflect on. Those bottles made indelible impressions during those formative years. So, a few years later when I planted my first vineyard in Ojai, I chose to plant syrah and sauvignon blanc.
I’ve been making sauvignon blanc from McGinley Vineyard since 1998 (back when it was called Westerly) and we’ve farmed the same two little blocks since. The site provides an exceptionally gorgeous example of the varietal, thanks largely to soils that would be abysmal for just about any other crop. In some sections the topsoil is as shallow as a foot and a half, with serpentine rock and fractured shale underneath. The wines from these poor soils are amazingly flavorful because the vines sense the scarcity of resources and, fearing death, direct all their energy toward maturing fruit rather than growing leaves (that way their genes may persevere).
I’ve been lucky to have connected with so many people who love our sauvignon blanc’s unique style. It’s a dazzling drink to pair with fresh cuisine—the folks at Chez Panisse have offered it on their wine list for years—I love it with oysters, or some good bread and goat cheese. As for aging, I begin to like our sauvignon blanc after a couple of years in bottle, though the 1998 is still drinking great, so this is a worthy white to exercise your cellar discipline!
“The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley offers a richer yet still elegant style. Beautiful notes of lime, white peach, and hints of grapefruit all emerge from the glass and it’s clean, impeccably balanced, and pure on the palate. I’d drink it over the coming 2-3 years, but it will keep for a decade or more.” Jeb Dunnuck- 91 Points
Antonio Galloni’s VINOUS
“The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard is quite soft in this vintage, with a lovely interplay between varietal fruit character and the soft curves that make the wine such a delight to taste now. Candied lemon, orchard fruit, white flower, chamomile and almond all grace a very pretty and expressive wine that emphasizes fruit over the green/grassy notes that are typical of many Sauvignon Blancs.” 2018-2022 90 Points