While 2014 will be remembered as a drought year in California, significant rains in February allowed soil profiles to be filled to capacity, enabling the vines to start the vintage with their fullest potential. The growing season turned out to be favorably dry and relatively mild at Rudd Estate’s Mt. Veeder altitude. In the future, 2014 may be remembered not only for the year of the Napa earthquake but one of the great, classic vintages.
In the glass, the 2014 Rudd Mt. Veeder Sauvignon Blanc is pale and brilliant with an almost silver tint. The nose is elegantly suggestive of Sauvignon Blanc with both woody and citrus notes- especially lemon peel that develops into white, citrus flower aromatics with air. With a textured entry, followed by mineral, even saline texture, the evolution is accented by an earthy, dry tea leaf aspect. The white peach character of Semillon adds a fruit element to the wine.
To be enjoyed cool, but not cold, the 2014 offers both the fresh tension of mountain grown Sauvignon Blanc combined with the generous texture and aromatics of Semillon fermented in neutral oak and concrete.
A nearly perfect growing season, the white wines from Mt. Veeder ripened quickly while retaining natural acidity. Vineyards at this altitude typically mimic a slower growing season than the Oakville vineyards, but being situated above the morning fog line though the summer enabled earlier ripening.
Concrete tanks have been used for white and red wine fermentations at Rudd for many years. A portion of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was fermented in concrete vessels in our subterranean cave, which is the perfect environment to maintain a cool, long fermentation that not only helps to reveal the varietal aromatics but also to develop complexity and mineral texture.
The 2013 Rudd Mt. Veeder Sauvignon Blanc has a focused aromatic expression on the riper side of Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit and guava, while also bringing forth an aromatic return reminiscent of fresh mountain honey. Bright in texture, the 2013 combines the fresh, underlying acidity to give length while the aromatic and mineral texture both add rhythm and depth.
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The 2012 California harvest yielded generous amounts of high quality fruit, and winemakers across the state have described this vintage as excellent, outstanding and ideal. Moderate weather throughout the growing season put little pressure on the vines, so the 2012 Harvest offset the low yielding 2011 crush, with most varieties picking at above average yields.
A low rainfall year combined with a return to average summertime temperatures led to a more abundant crop than the past few years. Three heat waves during September and October helped propel the vines to achieve excellent ripeness while maintaining beautiful structure and concentration. The season was nearly perfect with slow, even ripening.
An Indian summer blessed us throughout the fall – perfect weather to finish up the season. The ample crop made tank space the only challenge this year. The typical order of ripening was switched due to a warm inversion layer at 1500 to 2000 feet throughout September that kept mountain vineyards warmer than those on the valley floor.
"As has been the case for a number of years, Rudd’s Sauvignon Blanc in 2012 is a stunning effort. Although it does not say so on the label, I believe a lot of the fruit for this cuvee comes from a vineyard on Mt. Veeder. It is an 891-case blend of 83% Sauvignon Blanc, 9% Semillon and 8% Sauvignon Gris fermented in a combination of French oak and concrete eggs. If there is a California equivalent of the great white Pessac-Leognan Domaine de Chevalier, this may be it. Liquified minerals, caramelized citrus and honeyed melon characteristics emerge from this full-bodied, incredibly fresh, vibrant, well-delineated white. Drink this stunning Sauvignon Blanc over the next 4-5 years, although I suspect it can last even longer. Drink now - 2018>" - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #209, Oct 2013, 94 pts
The 2011 growing season was dry and long. The slow ripening that occurred allowed for lots of flavor development without over ripeness. The blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon provides a full and round creamy texture in the mid-palate with moderate acidity. It was the latest harvest ever for our Mt. Veeder vineyard with harvest not starting until Sept 22nd. This allowed for lots of extra hang time to slowly allow flavors to develop.
A solid citrus core of lemon, Kaffir lime, and orange zest surrounded by white peach, apricot, and fresh stone fruits. Hints of white pepper and bees wax finished with all-spice and nutmeg. This is a wine that should gain complexity with one to three years in the bottle.
"The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc offers up juicy pears, white flowers, mango and lime. Exotic and flavorful, the 2011 impresses for its balance and overall harmony. This is easily one of the most unique and compelling Sauvignons being made in Napa Valley. The 2011 is 87% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Gris and 3% Semillon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016." - Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate #204, Dec 2012
In addition to Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, in 2010 we harvested our first crop of Sauvignon Gris. This is a lesser known member of the Bordeaux family but it is an important contributor to the white wines in some of the finest estates in Graves.
"The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc is a very pretty wine endowed with exquisite grace and elegance. It shows lovely perfume, bright, focused fruit and considerable depth. This is a very pretty, refined white. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2014." -Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate #198, Dec 2011, 91 Pts
The 2009 growing season had the perfect conditions for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon to mature gracefully, while maintaining all their pure minerality and acidity. This is the second offering of this wine produced with estate grown fruit from the steep slopes of Mt. Veeder. Our vineyard planted at an elevation ranging from 1500 – 1700 ft.
"It is surprising what Rudd has been able to achieve with Sauvignon Blanc. The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc comes from his vineyard on Mt. Veeder. Aged in a combination of concrete egg shaped tanks, stainless steel and barrels, it includes 6% Semillon. It boasts extraordinary minerality as well as laser-like precision and notes of honeyed melons intermixed with gun flint, nectarines and lemon blossoms. A beautifully textured, rich, fresh Sauvignon Blanc, it should drink nicely for several years." -Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #192, Dec 2010, 93 Pts