Thu 5 Jul 2012
Quivira Vineyards and Winery was founded in 1981, by Holly and Henry Wendt, at the serendipitous confluence of Wine Creek and Dry Creek in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley appellation. (Well, it became an AVA in 1983.) The producer quickly established a reputation for sauvignon blanc and zinfandel wines. In 2005, the estate was certified by Demeter as authentically biodynamic. Winemaker since 2010 has been Hugh Chappelle.
Quivira offers three wines that are 100 percent sauvignon blanc, a “regular” Dry Creek Valley bottling, a more limited bottling from the Fig Tree Vineyard, and an even more limited edition called Refuge, the last of which I have not seen.
The Quivira Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Dry Creek Valley, is the first release of this label. It draws on the biodynamic Fig Tree Vineyard for about 50 percent of its grapes, with the balance derived from neighboring off-estate sites. The wine ferments in stainless steel, sees no oak and does not go through malolactic fermentation, though it rests on the lees of spent yeast cells — the yeasts are both indigenous and cultured — for up to six months. The result is an especially attractive and winsome example of the grape. The color is very pale straw-gold; the bouquet is so fresh and clean that you want to kiss it (like yer kid sister); sprightly aromas of lemongrass and lime peel, ginger and quince, jasmine and honeysuckle are woven with touches of slightly roasted lemons and pears. There’s an immaculate segue for these irresistible qualities into the mouth, with a bright boost of flint and limestone and shimmering acidity that enliven a lovely supple texture; the wine is bone-dry, spare and close to elegant yet juicy and tasty. 13.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2013. Excellent. About — ready? — $15, a Great Value.
The sibling or cousin to the previous wine is the Quivira Fig Tree Vineyard 2011, Dry Creek Valley. This ferments with native yeasts primarily in stainless steel tanks, though a small percentage goes into neutral French oak and — surely this is rare — acacia wood barrels. The wine ages six months in a combination of stainless steel and used oak and does not go through malolactic fermentation. The fruit is all estate-grown. The color is medium-pale straw-gold with a faint greenish cast; lordy, how lovely! — dried thyme and tarragon, slightly leafy and grassy, with touches of quince jam and fig marmalade (but not sweet, just the intense aromas), apples, lemons and lemon balm and an unusual hint of almond and almond blossom. Piercing limestone-like minerality and precision-cut acidity buoy a texture that’s otherwise utterly smooth and suave yet bristling with spice and fruit that leans from citrus to almost tropical. The whole enterprise beautifully balances every element in burnished harmony. 13.5 percent alcohol. Now through 2013. Production was 862 cases. Excellent. About — gasp! — $22, another Great Value.
These were samples for review.