Delightful Sauvignon Blanc From One of My Favorite Napa Valley Producers

Today’s Story: Red Cap Vineyards

Red Cap Vineyards’ story begins in 1998 with Tom and Desiree Altemus when they purchased a 10.5 acre property on Howell Mountain. Though Tom’s background is originally in finance working for IBM, he grew an appreciation for fine wine during business trips and ultimately quit to pursue a career as a chef in 1991. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Tom worked for famed chefs and restauranteurs including Michel Richard and Bradley Ogden before settling in at Brava Terrace in St. Helena. With the birth of the couple’s first child, Tom left the restaurant industry and the birth of their second child created the need to expand from Napa to Howell Mountain.

Having purchased their property, the Altemus family started planning their vineyards in 2000 with viability studies and archeological, biological, and botanical surveys. Due to seemingly endless regulations, the land was finally cleared and prepped in 2003 and the first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon released in 2005 with 50 cases. Having personally visited the property, I can attest that the land is not only beautiful but the vineyard rows are stunning to look at. The vineyards are planted on iron-rich volcanic soil that in person is very red and rocky, while all fruit is grown organically and hand-farmed.

I previously reviewed the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Cap.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

84% Sauvignon Blanc, 16% Semillon; 14.5% ABV

The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw in color. The aromas are of medium intensity, with the somewhat delicate nose offering up notes of ripe pear, white peach, tropical citrus, honeysuckle, lemongrass, white pepper, and white chocolate. The flavors are also of medium intensity, and the palate showcases notes of white peach, underripe pear, lemon pith, kiwi, straw, wet river stone, macadamia nut, and vanilla bean. This dry white is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. This is a good quality Sauvignon Blanc, and it comes across creamier and a bit fuller than a typical example.

Price: $35. This is a very reasonable price given the elevated quality level and solid depth to the wine. As I typically say in my Red Cap posts, Tom and Rudy are producing some of the great wines of the Napa Valley. And they offer incredible value too.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, while it is sold out on the Red Cap website purchasing direct from the winery here will be your best bet at securing future releases.

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