Beringer’s 2003 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blancwas grown in Bale Lane Vineyard, just north of the winery in St.Helena, and Gamble Ranch, a vineyard located mid-Valley nearOakville. At some distance from the cooling influence of San PabloBay, these areas have warm daytime temperatures and restrictive soilsthat are key ingredients in growing high quality Sauvignon Blancgrapes. Beringer’s vineyard manager, Bob Steinhauer, and his teamdiligently manage the Sauvignon Blanc’s innate vigor through propertrellising and other viticultural practices to increase sunlight exposureand air circulation to the clusters so the vines will produce grapes withbalanced citrus, lush stone fruit and melon flavors backed with asubtle herbal character.
In 2003, Winemaker Laurie Hook chose to send the SauvignonBlanc fruit directly to the press, by-passing the stemmer-crusher, toprotect more of the varietal’s delicate aromas and flavors. She alsofermented individual vineyard lots separately using differenttechniques to highlight various characteristics and bring more complexity to the wine. About30 percent of the juice was barrel fermented and aged for five months in small, seasonedFrench oak barrels so soft spice and vanilla elements would be introduced withoutoverpowering the wine’s bright acidity and fruitiness. In a separate process, Lauriecold-fermented the balance of the juice to highlight the Sauvignon Blanc’s citrus, grapefruitand herbal notes.