The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
2012 Del Dotto Caves, Cinghiale Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Coast, California
Arguably, more diverse than its more famous neighbor, Sonoma County now has 16 designated AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), each representing distinct climates and microclimates. Combined, these AVAs deliver a wider variety of grapes and wine styles than almost any other premium wine region in California. Sonoma’s environmental, cultural, and agricultural diversity is something to celebrate. And as long as we’re celebrating, there’s plenty of great wine to go around!
The Del Dotto winery is actually in Saint Helena, in Napa Valley. But, their Cinghiale Vineyard (where the grapes for this wine come from) is all Sonoma – Fort Ross-Seaview in the Sonoma Coast AVA, to be specific. This area is known for a cool coastal climate with most vineyards up steep mountains at elevations that reach above the region’s infamous fog, delivering more hours of sunlight than other low-lying coastal areas. This provides a long growing season and consistent ripening of fruit. This climate is particularly good for Sauvignon Blanc, which thrives in sunny warm but not hot climates, and is at home with the coastal influence (it origins are in Bordeaux in an area with a maritime climate).
This wine is unexpectedly lush and complex. Aromas of tropical fruit, especially guava, are balanced with floral notes and a subtle minerality. This is an almost full-bodied Sauvignon Blanc – it comes in at 15% ABV (much higher than it tastes); the texture is further enhanced by barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. These factors also contribute to the complexity of the aroma – in addition to characteristic fruit and floral components, there’s also a spicy toastiness that implies barrel aging. Though perfectly content to be the star, enjoyed on its own as an aperitif, at 15% ABV you’ll be needing something more substantial sooner than later. Something with goat cheese (also lovely from the Sonoma Coast area) would be ideal… on crostini with roasted fruit salsa, or on a fresh baguette with heirloom tomatoes and basil. This is also a great choice with shellfish and crustaceans, or whole grilled fish.
Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com.
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