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Emmolo Plumerai Sauvignon Blanc (1 Liter) 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Emmolo is named for Jenny’s maternal ancestors, who came to Napa Valley in 1923, buying property that remains in the family to this day. Her great-grandfather started a grapevine rootstock nursery that became the leading supplier to Napa Valley growers. Her mom, Cheryl Emmolo, has no brothers and always dreamed of keeping the family name alive by making wine using family vineyards. She launched Emmolo in 1994 and turned the reins over to Jenny in 2011.
On the paternal side, Jenny’s Napa Valley roots trace back to 1857, when her third great-grandfather captained a wagon train to the region, beginning a long history of farming and winemaking. In 1972, Jenny’s father, Chuck Wagner, founded Caymus Vineyards along with her grandparents.
As owner and winemaker for Emmolo Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, Jenny has pursued a distinct style for these wines and embraces new techniques in both the vineyard and her winemaking. With her Sauvignon Blanc, she is going after a subtle wine that is more minerality-driven than fruit-driven. With her Merlot, she relishes the challenge of enticing people to try a bold, rich wine with a style that is not what they typically expect. Most of the grapes for Emmolo are still grown on family property, and Jenny’s grandparents still live in Napa Valley – where they sit on their porch keeping an eye on the vines.
The Rutherford sub-region of Napa Valley centers on the town of Rutherford and covers some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyard real estate, spanning from the Mayacamas in the west, to the Vaca Mountains on the other side of the valley.
Inside of the Rutherford AVA, bordering the Mayacamas, is a stretch of uplands called the Rutherford Bench. (These bench lands technically run the length of Oakville as well). Mountain runoff creates deep, well-drained, alluvial soils on the bench, giving vine roots plenty of reason to permeate deep into the ground. The result is wine with great structure and complexity.
Rutherford Cabernet Sauvingons and Bordeaux Blends garner substantial attention for their enticing fragrances of dusty earth and dried herbs, broad and juicy mid-palates and lush and fine-grained tannins. The sub-appellation claims some of the valley’s most prized vineyards today, namely Caymus, Rubicon and Beckstoffer Georges III.
It is also home to Napa’s most influential and historic personalities. Thomas Rutherford, responsible for the appellation's name, made serious investments here in grape growing and wine production between the years of 1850 to 1880. Gustave Niebaum purchased a large swath of land and completed his winery in 1887, calling it “Inglenook.” Today this remains the oldest bonded winery in California. Georges Latour founded Beaulieu Vineyard in 1900, making it the oldest continuous winery in the state. Latour also hired the famous enologist, André Tchelistcheff, a man credited for single-handedly defining the modern Napa winemaking style.
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.