I know, so unconventional of me to be writing to you on a Friday instead of a Wednesday, but I wouldn’t be doing so if what I’m about to share wasn’t extremely important and newsworthy!
Yesterday I had a surprise visit at the vineyards by none other than Mr. Matt Kettmann, Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine and wine reviewer for the Central and South Coast of California!
I have been sending in our wines to Matt for several years now and we’ve been excited to share what he’s been saying about our wines. Thursday (8/25) morning I received a call from Mark Blatty owner of Byron Blatty Wines as I was leaving the dentist office. He said to me “Matt Kettmann wants to come visit your vineyards. He says no to a lot of my suggestions but he said he wanted to come see you and meet you. Make yourself available.” I said, “Great, when?” He says “10:45ish sound good?” It was 9:30am.
So I packed up my stuff and headed back to the vineyards. I had a cooler with Sauvignon Blanc grapes in the back of my car that I had picked at 6:30am that morning to bring to the winery to test sugar levels. Sorry Sauvy-B, you’ve gotta rest on ice a little bit longer.
It was such a pleasure chatting with Matt and Mark. As we tasted our 2021 Sauvignon Blanc Eds’ Vineyard Matt believed it was better than the 89 points he previously scored it. He enjoyed some of our 2021 Rosé as well as we walked the vineyards and I shared more about our process at AJA.
Matt, thanks for the great conversation and coming to visit. Mark, thanks for coming by and tasting alongside us.
Mark runs a vineyard about a quarter mile down the road from us. It’s always great to taste our wines side by side because they’re so different yet made from the same varieties and planted right next to each other…it’s all in the winemaking style!
After spending some time with Matt and Mark, I went on over to the winery to test our sugars…and guess what time it is?!
IT’S HARVEST AGAIN!
Monday morning we’ll be harvesting Eds’ Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc for our second vintage! I am so excited to be getting this wine back into tanks as we only have 4 cases left. Everyone loved this wine and I hope people continue to enjoy it into the winter!
I made this particular wine in the “fume blanc” style coined by Mr. Robert Mondavi himself. The Fume Blanc is a Sauvignon Blanc that is made similarly in style to the Sauvignon Blancs of Pouilly Fume in the central Loire Valley, France.
A Fume Blanc is a wine that is aged in oak barrels, in our case neutral oak, which imparts a beautiful texture and softness into the wine. As you’ve tasted from our Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc, when the Sauvignon Blanc grape is fermented and aged in steel tank with no manipulation or malolactic fermentation, the grape is bright and grassy, often tropical and zingy with a refreshing finish. When a wine is aged in oak it becomes less zingy and more refined. The oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc becomes less driven by its pyrazines (the chemical component that makes a Sauvignon Blanc green and vegetal tasting), and more driven by its stone fruit and citrus aromas and makes the wine more velvety on the tongue.
This year, we’ll likely be doing the same thing. But it all truly depends on what the grapes want. As you know, at AJA we are very minimalist. Our winemaking approach is to let the terroir be showcased in each bottle and to not over do anything. But I do believe this Fume Blanc approach is the new way to go for our estate fruit.
Anyways everyone, I hope you have a fabulous AJA Wine filled weekend. Grab your glass, and enjoy the weather as we count down to fall.
All the best!
Amanda Greenbaum, Proprietor