Gainey Santa Inez Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Tasting Notes
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Gainey Santa Inez Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Tasting Notes

Gainey Vineyards has an interesting setup. It farms two properties in the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara. Gainey's Home Ranch in the east of the valley has on the average temperatures fifteen degrees warmer during growing season that its Evans Ranch in the Santa Rita Hills to the west, a scant fifteen miles away as the crow flies.

Gainey hence has an ambitious choice of grapes, and they do well with their Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is a stimulating ride. The nose brought stone, hay and grass with green apple, apricot, and orange for citrus. In the mouth the fruit frolicked into a definite tartness, adding (to the orange) tropical notes: whiffs of pineapple, banana, mango and kiwi. The dry, drinkable wine comes with a touch of fizz.

On the palate, just as the nose's tree fruit and grassiness turned into tropical fruit, the initial minerality seemed to convert into butter and cheese, notes I happen to really enjoy, especially as they project a slight dairy bitterness. These notes proved an effective foil for the lasting acidity which, had they been unalloyed, may have led me to think “vitamin C energy drink.” While I wanted to feel some more of the initial minerality through to the finish, its lack did in no way inhibit my quaffing. The wine isn't Sancerre, but why should it try to be? I may not have been philosophizing after drinking it, but I was smiling.


Verdict: Sustained Fun
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Grapes travel around the world. It is stimulating to analyze how a grape expresses itself in a given climate, but ultimately the wine needs to stand along on a zero sum basis.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

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