St. Supery Virtu 2011
Blend: 51% Semillon, 49% Sauvignon Blanc
St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery is a 100% Estate Grown, sustainably farmed winery located in the renowned Rutherford growing region in the heart of Napa Valley. The winery combines French chateau estate tradition with Napa Valley terroir and a focus on Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varieties.
Committed to producing the highest quality estate wines without compromise, St. Supéry Estate Winery and Vineyards is proud to be certified Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery. With St. Supéry’s reputation based on its valuable Napa Valley properties, a primary goal is to support biodiversity and sustainability while continuing the founding vision of a Napa Valley chateau for generations to come. St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery was founded in 1982. After a decade of researching properties with the advice from Napa Valley’s most respected vintners, the founding family purchased Dollarhide Ranch, over 1,530 acres of unplanted land high in the northeastern mountains which today is the source of St. Supéry’s distinctive estate Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The diversity of Dollarhide’s terroir contributes to the successful farming of red and white Bordeaux varieties.
The winery in Rutherford is home to winemaking, visitor facilities, and 35 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. All the estate acreage owned by St. Supéry is farmed sustainably using minimal intervention and cultivation. In addition to being recognized for award winning wines, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery champions wine education and exploration, offering a series of interactive wine experiences designed for all levels of wine enthusiasts.
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.
Sometimes light and crisp, other times rich and creamy, Bordeaux white blends typically consist of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Often, a small amount of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris is included for added intrigue. This blend was popularized in the Bordeaux region of France (where it also comprises outstanding sweet wines like Sauternes and Barsac), but is often mimicked throughout the New World, particularly in California, Washington and Australia.
In the Glass
Sémillon provides the background to this blend, with a relatively full body and an oily texture. Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and lots of bright fruit flavor, particularly white grapefruit, lime and freshly cut grass. Used in smaller proportions, Muscadelle can contribute fresh floral notes, while Sauvignon Gris is less aromatic but offers ripe, juicy fruit on the palate. These wines run the gamut from unoaked, refreshing, and easy to drink to serious, complex and barrel-aged. The latter style, usually with a higher percentage of Sémillon, can develop aromas of ginger, chamomile and dried orange peel. The dessert wines produced by these blends, often with the help of "noble rot" called botrytis, can have lush stone fruit and honey characteristics.
Crisp, dry Bordeaux white blends are the perfect accompaniment for raw or lightly cooked seafood, especially shellfish. A more structured, Sémillon-based bottling can stand up to richer fish, chicken, or pork dishes in white sauces. These blends also work well with a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs, like asparagus, peas, basil and tarragon. Sweet dessert wines are traditionally enjoyed with strong blue cheeses, foie gras or fruit-based desserts.
Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but astute sommeliers know that they can be served at any time—before, during or after the meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico, oysters with a spicy mignonette or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage, poached lobster in beurre blanc sauce or even fried chicken.