Santa Ynez Valley
The 2009 is in the distinctive style we’ve pioneered here at The Ojai Vineyard. It is an unapologetic rendition that displays the fruit personality from this vineyard, grown in extraordinarily poor, shale soil. The wine has the same herbal nerviness and zippy acidity that previous vintages possess. As always, we farm to keep the crop in our areas to about half that of the other blocks at McGinley, giving us a wine that is more minerally and more intensely flavored. The major change in vineyard cultural practices has been the switch to organic farming.
We are always the first to harvest from McGinley vineyard; the intention is to capture the grapes when they are at their peak flavor with acidity that is fresh and vibrant. The timing is critical because at this warm site the grapes mature quickly, so we have only a day or two to pick before the balance is lost.
The processing of the grapes at the winery is gentle; whole clusters are loaded in a pneumatic press, and very little pressure is used to extract the juice. The juice is then drained into barrels for fermentation. While most sauvignon blanc is fermented and aged in tanks, we like what barrel fermentation and barrel aging does to round out and bring complexity to the wine, though we studiously avoid using new barrels because the oak-y flavors they impart would mask the vineyard’s originality. After the fermentation settles down-which takes a week or two-the barrels are topped up and aged undisturbed for seven months before bottling.
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Light, greenish gold. Spicy grapefruit and green apple scents are complicated by white pepper and herbs. Lively and powerful on the attack, then relatively sweet and open in the mid-palate, offering juicy citrus and succulent herb flavors and sneaky spiciness. Finishes with solid grip and a whiplash of dense citrus fruit. Tolmach said that the crop this year was very low, which no doubt accounts for this wine’s flavor intensity.” – JR 90 Points