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Acumen Mountainside Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Acumen has emerged as the embodiment of a dream to share with friends and family the very best of the Old and New Worlds, a dream where world-class winemaking and viticulture combine with a deep love of the land.
The founding Acumen team of winemaker Denis Malbec and viticulturists Garrett Buckland were drawn to the mountainside vineyards of Napa Valley's eastern slopes, which have created countless world-class wines. It was here in the rugged Atlas Peak AVA where they set their roots in two unique vineyards with a total of 116 organically farmed acres. The Acumen labels share a glimpse of the inspiring views from their vineyards, both of which have an Old World feel, with bucolic rolling hills and textured rows of mountainside grapevines, surrounded by chaparral and sagebrush.
Denis Malbec, a winemaking artist, inspiration and good friend, was born and raised amidst the vineyars and cellar of Chateau Latour, a Bordeaux First Growth in the Pauillac commune of the Medoc. He was Acumen's first winemaker and together with Henrik Poulsen made the Acumen wines through the 2015 vintage. Tragically, in early 2016 he passed away in a car accident. He will be greatly missed and warmly remembered, with the 2013 and 2014 Acumen PEAK wines to bear a subtle tribute on the label in his honor.
Acumen lives their belief that the world's best wine are grown in the vineyard, so they feel very fortunate to have their vineyards and winemaking so thoroughly united under the artistry and expertise of Henrik Poulsen and supported by their amazing full-time vineyard and winemaking team.
Every glass of Acumen is an invitation to share in their dream, to be transported to the vineyards, to feel the sun and smell the earth, to taste the best that Napa Valley has to offer.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.
The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.