We started making our first white blend at the Rossini Ranch Winery—Venge’s former home. The wine was called “Bianco Spettro” and was a smash hit with our wine fans. When the
Rossini Winery sold, we changed the name to “Champ des Fleurs” which translated means “field of flowers.” Many people still loved the wine but became tongue tied with the name. It soon became “the white blend.” We have often said that this wine benefits from the spectrum of the varietals that complete the blend, making a wine that is much more compelling than any of the varieties on their own. Spettro translated means spectrum and thus we found it appropri-ate in defining the wine perfectly. This year’s blend is a composition of 61% Yountmill
Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 31% Maldonado Vineyard Chardonnay, and 8% Baranek
Vineyard Chenin Blanc. Crisp and refreshing with loads of meyer lemon, tart apple, grapefruit, a touch of minerality, and solid backbone. Devotees of dryer whites will appreciate this blend for what it is lacking—oak influence. Drink now, chilled over a bucket of ice.
Harvest took place literally the entire month of September, 2010, from the 5th to the 30th. The Chardonnay fruit is sourced from a tightly spaced, Dijon clone vineyard owned by the renowned Maldonado family in the very cool and marine influenced Napa-Carneros appellation. The Sauvignon Blanc component is sourced from the old-vine Yount-mill Vineyard in Yountville. Our Chenin Blanc is from the Baranek Vineyard in Clarksburg where the warm days and cool Delta evenings ripens the skin of this varietal to perfection.
The grapes are all hand harvested very cool in the early morning and whole cluster pressed and the juice settled in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation of each varietal is separate and started in the stainless and all but the Sauvignon Blanc is put to neutral, French Oak casks to finish fermentation. The Sauvignon Blanc will go down to barrel after a slow, 20 day alcoholic fermentation. The wines are surlies aged for 8 months until bottling. Batonage, or the gentle stirring of the lees, is employed in the early stages of ageing to further develop richness and length of body in the wine’s mid-palate all the while remaining clean and fresh. The varietals were blended just prior to bottling. This wine sees approximately 10% malolactic fermentation to add just a touch of roundness and enhanced mouth feel.
61% Sauvignon Blanc; 31% Chardonnay, and 8% Chenin Blanc