Crafting & Coaxing Sauvignon Blanc at Ehlers Estate
Laura Díaz Muñoz seems to have a way with Sauvignon Blanc. Her purposeful techniques in the vineyard (only removing leaves in contact with grape clusters on the morning sunlight side of rows) and winery (administering micro-doses of oxygen during fermentation then performing weekly lees battonage in stain steel drums for six months of aging) resulted in a fascinating wine. It's an invigorating and textural Sauvignon Blanc that is a welcome change from the usual Napa profile. The gentle coaxing of Laura's techniques resulted in an intellectual Sauvignon Blanc for the inquisitive drinker and an enjoyable one for all.
Laura joined Ehlers in July 2018, so it will be interesting to see how she handles a full vinegrowing season as well as the different vintage conditions in the years to come for all of the estate's two acres of Sauvignon Blanc in St. Helena. (This wine came from only two blocks.) Based on this white, I predict much deliciousness ahead.
Ehlers 2018 Sauvignon Blanc St Helena 13.6% $32
Reductive on Day 1 and more expressive on Day 2, this fighter has plenty of inherent personality despite the evident inflence of winemaking techniques. There's a lovely beeswax edge reminiscent of a touch Sémillon (yet this is varietal Sauvignon Blanc) that seems to pull the reserved yet concentrated palate into a long-lasting finish. As the pleasantly stinky notes of struck flint fade to make way for succulent Comice pear and fleshy white peaches, honeysuckle and cinnamon surface toward the finish. The palate is robust (the label claims 13.2% but this wine's tech sheet shows 13.6%) but shows pinpoint precision between its well-placed, lemony acidity and pithy tanninic structure. While it's lovely now, this multi-faceted bottling has ample room to develop to benefit in bottle.