Walnut Block ‘Collectables’ Sauvignon Blanc 2019, 2017 Kung Fu Girl Riesling – White Selection 

 March 2, 2020

By  rackhouse

Or first selection for this category comes to us from Marlborough, New Zealand.  Walnut Block ‘Collectables’ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 and all of the Walnut Block offerings is the vision of two brothers, Clyde and Nigel Sowman, who have joined together to create a range of wines reflecting their collective experience and passions.

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family. Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine and when planted In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors while in New Zealand it often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California’s style is fruit-driven, that can be found in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.

Situated in the renowned Wairau Valley, Walnut Block Wines takes its name from the landmark walnut tree within the vineyard itself. The 44-acre vineyard is located on the Wairau Valley plains, a dry ancient riverbed which has created a prime growing area for Sauvignon Blanc. The brother’s say, “The belief that the vineyard is the key to a great wine is at the core of Walnut Block. Labor intensive vineyard methods produce consistent, exceptional fruit quality; the use of traditional winemaking techniques and attention to preserving delicate flavors & aromas. The commitment to organic viticulture has seen continual development in the flavor and mouthfeel of the wines as the vines become more self-sufficient and naturally balanced.” 

Among the vines stands the region’s oldest walnut tree, and to pay homage, the Collectables label depicts an adaptation of the 1898 Kiwi New Zealand stamp. Both the planting of the tree and the release of the stamp occurred over 100 years ago and celebrate the unique Kiwi history and roots of Walnut Block. They control the yield through shoot thinning. Grapes are harvested during the cool of night to maintain freshness and flavors. The grapes are de-stemmed and pressed, then slowly fermented in stainless steel tanks at a cool temperature using carefully selected yeast. Extended yeast and lees contact adds weight and texture to the plate for this wine.

The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc works well at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus.

The 2017 Kung Fu Girl Riesling out of the Ancient Lakes appellation of Washington State is the brainchild of Charles Smith.  One night, Charles was eating Chinese takeout and watching a fight scene in a notorious martial arts film when he had an idea: a killer white wine made to be paired with Asian food. Just like that, Kung Fu Girl was born.

This wine is 100% Riesling and has been described by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate as, “Juicy and lively, with lots citrus blossom, lychee and a touch of lime… [this Riesling] is medium-bodied, vibrant and crisp on the palate, with terrific purity, integrated acidity and a great finish.”  This Charles Smith wine see 2 months in the barrel on lees to round out this great summer sipper.  The vineyard is owned by the Milbrandt’s.  Evergreen Vineyard was planted in 1998 by Jerry Milbrandt, the vineyard rows lie along a stretch of steep cliffs above the Columbia River in the Ancient Lakes AVA.  A cooler site due to river influence, the nitrogen-poor soils are composed of fragmented basalt, gravel silt, and caliche deposited during ice age floods. This site produces fruit with sublime mineral character and great acidity, a balance that winemakers are glad to exploit.

As it was envisioned, this wine goes great with spicy ramen, Sriracha pork tacos, and freshly shucked oysters.

related posts:

Fleurs de Prairie – Rosé of Grenache Noir + Syrah + Carignan + Cinsault + Mourvèdre; Languedoc, France; 2023

Kung Fu Girl – Riesling; Ancient Lakes, Washington; 2023

VDR – Petit Verdot + Petit Sirah; Hames Valley, Monterey, California 2021

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