Growing Conditions

When we decided to make a Sauvignon Blanc in 2007, we wanted it to be a serious wine. Trouble was, we weren’t sure how to identify a great Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. We asked our friend Andy Erickson, who’s had a lot of experience with the varietal. “That’ll be easy for you,” he said. “A great Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is going to make a great Sauvignon Blanc.” It makes sense; after all, Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. What wasn’t so easy, however, was finding a great Cab vineyard planted to Sauvignon Blanc. That’s where Farella came in, the Coombsville vineyard that’s been the source of one of our favorite Cabernets since 2003. Farella has all these layers of volcanic tufa, decomposed rocks and ashy deposits – perfect for Cabernet, and as it turns out, Sauvignon Blanc. Farella has a few rows of SB on a slope in the northwest corner of the site, and after bugging Tom Farella for three years, we were finally able to secure the fruit in 2009. These grapes form the backbone of Fidelio (formerly known as Ibid), to which we add small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc from other sites for additional complexity. Fidelio is our version of a fine white Bordeaux: expansive on the palate, wonderfully complex, a beautifully structured and concentrated white.

Farella Vineyard is a fantastically complex site in the foothills of the Vaca Mountain range in the cool, southeastern corner of Napa Valley. The vineyard is divided into numerous blocks with elevations ranging between 300 and 500 feet. Varying slopes create distinct microclimates and soil compositions, and the vineyard’s diversity is suitable to growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Thirty acres of untouched oak woodland adds to the biodiversity and breathtaking beauty of this special site.