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Villa San-Juliette Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Ken Warwick- At the winery, Ken is known for his keen “design eye” as he is consistently looking for ways to make the estate and the experience more beautiful for everybody. Outside the winery, Ken has had an amazing career, culminating with his current role as Executive Producer on worldwide productions of American Idol, World Idol and An American Idol Christmas for FremantleMedia. Ken has received numerous awards for his work, including Europe’s top television award, the Golden Rose for Montreux (the Rose d’Or), a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award, and National Television Award for Best Entertainment Program, as well as five Emmy nominations. His work on American Idol has earned 30 Emmy Award nominations to date, and in 2007 he received the prestigious Governors Award, the Television Academy’s highest honor, for Idol Gives Back. Ken also executive produces the wildly successful America’s Got Talent, and previously produced primetime entertainment shows for the BBC and ITV, including Gladiators, Don’t Try This At Home and Royal Tournament coverage.
Dan Smith was raised in Tualatin, a small city 12 miles south of Portland, Oregon surrounded by the vineyards of the Willamette Valley. As the youngest of five children, he watched his siblings as they progressed through school and various careers and decided at an early age that he needed a plan of action. "It was a mixture of the geography around me, on top of a fascination with my Aunt and Uncle’s obsession with collecting wine that led me to tell my parents that I wanted to be a winemaker when I was 14 years old. Always supportive, they bought me some books to read and even let me paint my room in a wine color theme." In 2005, Dan ventured out of Oregon to start school in Cal Poly’s Wine & Viticulture B.S. program. It was his first experience with California’s Central Coast and he immediately fell in love with the SLO life. Dan met many influential industry leaders and mentors while working on his degree at Cal Poly. "I remember a career discussion before graduation I had with my Viticulture professor, the late Dr. Keith Patterson, where I expressed my desire to keep living and working in the area. He strongly encouraged me to leave the region and get as much experience as possible, then return given the right opportunity.” Dan took Dr. Patterson’s advice and worked vintages in Sonoma, New Zealand, California’s Central Valley, and back in Oregon before one of his college mentors, Matt Ortman, asked him to become Villa San-Juliette’s Cellar Master in 2013. "It’s been an amazing experience working with the VSJ vineyard and wines along with our small team, and I’m thrilled to step in as Winemaker and continue producing quality, hand-crafted wines."
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
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 here 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-Fume. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, often reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California produces fruity and rich oak-aged versions as well as snappy and fresh, Sauvignon blancs, which never see any oak.
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 can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the 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 (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.