When Les Howard, Raphael’s new winemaker, arrived from Pindar Vineyards in August of last year, he had about just enough time to go over the barrel cellar before the first bins of fruit were being harvested.
Les could not wait to get into things and make sure the almost perfect 2010 vintage was going to go smoothly.
Les was going to make some changes. He was going to do things a little differently than Rich Olsen-Harbich, Raphael’s former winemaker. This was expected. One thing that was changing was the labeling of Raphael’s Sauvignon Blanc. This Sauvignon Blanc used to fall under the “Grand Cru” label. These were newer plantings than the other “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc. Some customers would get confused by the labeling, this just makes it easier. Nothing will be lost by losing a label.
Les’s first offering as winemaker at Raphael that I had a chance to taste is Raphael 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). This Estate version is a bit more edgy than the one from older vines, the First Label Sauvignon Blanc (I will be reviewing it next week).
On the nose I was picking up hints of lemon, lime grapefruit and tropical fruit notes. There was an essence of salinity with hints of fresh-cut grass and basil. A hint of pineapple peeked through as the wine warmed.
When tasted the notes of lemon and lime jumped right out. Hints of Grapefruit and pineapple rounded out the palate.
Packed with bright acidity, this was palate cleansing. I it was calling for shellfish, but went perfectly with our summer pasta salad.
The wine finished with a hint of sweet herb and lemon.
Sláinte!*I received this bottle as a sample from the vineyard