What do winemakers do on vacation? Look for interesting flavors. One of our favorite finds was on the Big Island of Hawaii. A local school teacher was selling homemade lilikoi (passion fruit) jelly on the steps of the Hawi post office. We wrapped some jars in our bathing suits and stuffed them into our suitcases for the return flight home. Spread on our morning toast, the passion fruit brought back great memories of vacation. We do our blending trials first thing in the morning while our taste buds are fresh. Perhaps because we had tasted Mary Lou's jelly at breakfast, we realized that the passion fruit aromas and flavors in our 2007 Sauvignon Blanc were unmistakable. It is a seductive flavor; a yin-yang of ripe tropical fruits and bracing acidity.
After a week of tasting trials we selected our 2007 Sauvignon cuvée which includes 4% Semillon enhancing the fig-like character.
We fermented most of the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in seasoned French oak puncheons. Puncheons hold 135 gallons of wine and barrels 60 gallons. Puncheons provide the round mouth-feel of aging in oak but minimal flavors from the wood. The balance was fermented in stainless steel adding some fruity esters to the blend.
The flamboyant passion fruit was obvious but as the tastings progressed the wine revealed a rainbow of fruit flavors: lime, melon and fig. This bottling seems especially fruit-driven which we speculate is due to the vintage as the wine is from the same two fields and was farmed the same way as prior years. The first vineyard was harvested in early September a week after a heat spell; the weather cooled and the second field was harvested a month later. The last time we harvested Sauvignon Blanc this ripe was a decade ago in 1997. This 2007 bottling is a standout with passionate full flavors. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.