Rancho Zabaco Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
After harvest, the grapes selected for this wine were not crushed or destemmed, but instead proceeded as whole clusters directly to our membrane press using very minimal pressure. The must was then chilled for at least 24 hours to allow most of the solids to cold-settle, and then the clear juice was racked off into tank and barrel for fermentation. Just over one quarter of the blend was fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel for 25 days, to extract the most subtle and complex characteristics of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The remaining three-quarters of the blend was barrel fermented at cool temperatures, adding a toasty oak undertone to the wine. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation in order to retain all the classic Sauvignon Blanc varietal character. It was lightly fined and filtered prior to bottling.
Rancho Zabaco Winery
Rancho Zabaco is named for one of the original Mexican land grants in Sonoma County. Sonoma County encompasses the Dry Creek Valley, the area from which Rancho Zabaco’s grapes are drawn. The wines are inspired by the bold spirit of the Spanish and Mexican pioneers who settled this rugged land.
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About Russian River
The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.