Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc (2009)

Now owned by Jackson Wine Estates International, the umbrella wine company that runs the many vineyards set up or run by the enigmatic Jess Jackson, the Stonestreet name was born in 1989 when Jess Jackson (Jnr) purchased what was previously the Zellerbach winery and renamed it in honour of his late father, Jess “Stonestreet” Jackson.

Occupying more than 5,100 acres amongst the Mayacamas Mountains above the Alexander Valley in California, the Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate is one of the most varied in the region. More than 400 individual vineyard sites are scattered across “The Mountain”, few of which are larger than 1 acre in size. The vast majority of fruit from these exposed Stonestreet blocks are bottled as single vineyard wines.

The first vintage of this Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc was made from Sauvignon Blanc fruit from the 2008 harvest, thus making this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc only the second vintage of this Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc to become available.

Production of this Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is up from 95 cases in 2008, to 172 cases for this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

The fruit for this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc was drawn from one block of the Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate situated at 850 feet above sea level (unusually high) with a free draining south/south east aspect.

In the glass, this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a pale lemon colour with hints of a limey green. Clear across the glass and pale, it is tough to pick out the alcoholic content when this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is swirled, but quoted abv is 13.5%.

On the nose, this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is typically herbaceous with more unusual exotic fruit notes also apparent. Lychee, grapefruit and lime are prominent aromas for this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc, along with a degree of smokiness that is likely derived from the six and a half months in “neutral” oak experienced by this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Once in the mouth, this oak and the intensity of flavour brought about by altitude is still obvious. Medium bodied and with a slightly fatter mouth-feel than much Sauvignon Blanc, this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is nonetheless complex and nuanced. Those tropical fruit and oak notes are maintained across the long palate of this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a palate that is more approachable for showing less acidity than some Suavignon Blanc. At no point becoming flabby, there is a clear sense of minerality to this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc that drives the fruit through the finish.

In terms of food pairings for this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc – meaty fish, lobster or chicken with a cream-based sauce would all make excellent accompaniments.
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Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc (2009)

Score: 91/100 – This 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is an impressively styled Sauvignon Blanc given its own character as a result of altitude and oak maturation. Very impressive.

Value for Money: 7/10 – At £25 per bottle this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc is more expensive than 99% of Sauvignon Blanc available in the UK. Expect retail prices to vary considerably due to rarity (only 1032 bottles produced). Despite this 2009 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc’s inherent quality, it is hard to justify this as a “value conscious” choice.
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