The passing of Labor Day is the signal for richer and fuller wines, such as the 2010 Lancaster Estate Samantha’s Sauvignon Blanc.
In 1995, Ted and Nicole Simpkins purchased the former Mayacamus Creek Winery in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. They converted the 53-acre property to hillside vineyards planted with the five Bordeaux red wine varietals: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot.
Lancaster Estate’s winemaker Jesse Katz is a boyish 28-years-old with an impressive resume that includes enology and chemistry degrees from California State College at Fresno, working with acclaimed winemakers Hans Vinding-Diers, Paul Hobbs and Robert Foley and spending a year on the winemaking team at the cult winery Screaming Eagle.
In 2010, Simpkins purchased the Clark vineyard, which had been its source for sauvignon blanc grapes under a purchasing agreement with grower Truman Clark.
I always approach Californian sauvignon blanc with fear and hope- fear from having tasted too many sauvignon blancs flabby and dull from fermenting the wine in new French oak barrels and employing malolactic fermentation, and eternal hope that the winemaker, being attentive to the grape’s character, will preserve its rich fruit flavors and citrus acidity.
Katz rewarded my faith with a full-bodied, intensely-flavored and balanced 2010 Lancaster Estate Samantha’s Sauvignon Blanc. After fermentation, he began the preservation project by moving 80 percent of the wine into stainless-steel tanks and putting 10 percent each into new and used French oak barrels for seven months. Wisely avoiding malolactic fermentation completely, Katz offers a pungent lemon, lime and jasmine scented wine. A luxurious mouth feel carries pineapple, pear and lime flavors, and clean and clear acidity keeps the palate fresh and the flavors stretched across time.
Lancaster Estate is dedicated to Bordeaux varietals, and while most wine consumers see red, remember Bordeaux also can be white and made exclusively or mostly from sauvignon blanc. The 2010 Lancaster Estate Samantha’s Sauvignon Blanc is as rich and full as the best from Bordeaux.
Two Saturdays ago, I enjoyed my glass of this outstanding wine with a tasty pork chop purchased at the Sparta farmers market. I grilled it, along with eggplant and zucchini bought from another stall. And let’s not forget the delicious and tender Swiss chard that another Sussex County farm provided. Farm to Table, it’s now called. I’ll use an older phrase: Life doesn’t get much better.
The 2010 Lancaster Estate Samantha’s Sauvignon Blanc retails for approximately $29.