I’m a fan of zingy, fresh Sauvignon Blancs — and I usually find less expensive California examples pretty boring and flat. So I was delighted to discover the zesty, vibrant 2010 Gainey from the Santa Ynez Valley in one of my recent blind tasting lineups of winery samples.
Interestingly, the 2010 is somewhat different from previous vintages. In the past, Gainey’s white also contained a fair amount of Semillon. But in 2010, the winery opted to leave it out, making the wine 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc. Though the previous version had many fans, I think I prefer it this way. It still has melon, guava and citrus scents and flavors and a rich texture, but it also has a new freshness and minerality that really combined well with a mixed green salad and sautéed scallop dinner after my tasting.
The Gainey Vineyard is only one part of a much larger, very diverse farming enterprise run by Dan J. Gainey and his son Dan H. It includes raising Arabian horses and beef cattle, and growing organic fruits and vegetables. The Gainey family owns cool vineyard sites in the Santa Rita Hills, but the Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Los Robles vineyard on the Gainey Home Ranch in the warm eastern end of the Santa Ynez Valley. The Home Ranch has been in the family for about 50 years. Gainey says their vineyard practices are “sustainable,” but they seem to go greater distance toward organic than many wineries who make the sustainable claim.
The climate of Santa Ynez Valley is warm, but early morning fog rolls in from the Pacific, and cool breezes keep acid in the grapes.
Best of all, though, the winery has always been known for reasonably priced wines, and this new Sauvignon Blanc is one of them.
Zester Daily contributor Elin McCoy is a wine and spirits columnist and author of “The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste.”