by Fred McMillin
for June 2, 1997

The Saint and the Pope

Prologue: The Pope Valley, 900 feet above the Napa Valley floor, produces very good fruit intensity. The days are eight to ten degrees warmer than the Rutherford area, but the nights are eight to ten degrees colder. We can have a temperature swing of up to 50 degrees in one day. From the St. Supery Winery Staff

The Rest of the Story: There's a white wine grape that likes it warm: Sauvignon Blanc. When I last looked, there was only one Blanc made entirely from Pope Valley grapes, the Saint Supery. Appropriately, when St. Supery released its first wines a decade ago, the charge was led by their Sauvignon Blanc, and they've continued to give the grape more attention than much of the competition. CEO Michaela Rodeno says, "At Saint Supery we don't just LIKE Sauvignon Blanc, we LOVE it." So do oyster eaters. Ten winners were selected in the 1996 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition and the Saintly Sauvignon was one of them.

Noted critic James Laube described that very first vintage as "crisp, fresh with delicate herb and citrus flavors...excellent." Those words are just as appropriate today.

1995 Sauvignon Blanc, Dollarhide Ranch, Pope Valley
St. Supery Vineyards and Winery
Rutherford, CA
Phone—(800) 942-0809

Category: Recommended

Postscript: Those high elevations produce more than just extreme temperature swings. Not so long ago the hills received EIGHT inches of rain in 24 hours.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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