Pale straw color; gooseberry, pear, lemon, honeysuckle on the nose; honeydew melon, grapefruit, lemon, pear, guava, citrus, minerality on the palate.
Dry; slight spritz on the pour; sharp acidity (3.34 pH). Light-medium body. Tangy, fresh, clean in the mouth with hint of sweetness in the mid-palate. Some faint veggie, grassy notes, as you expect from sauv blanc. The reason is compounds called methoxypyrazines, which also are found in bell peppers and asparagus. 13.5% ABV
The 100% sauvignon blanc fruit comes from the winery’s Margarita Vineyard and other Paso Robles sites. Each lot was cold fermented to retain aromatics and pure fruit flavors. All containers stainless steel, no oak influence. Aged four months in stainless steel after fermentation. The cliché is sauv blanc is “salad in glass,” and this qualifies. That and the good acidity makes sauv blanc in general and this wine is extremely versatile as a food pairing wine for most fare except rich red meat.
Franciscan missionaries first planted grapevines at the Santa Margarita Ranch in the late 1700s. One of the current blocks is planted in the same location as the original vineyard. The modern era at Santa Margarita began with plantings by the Robert Mondavi family in 1999. The vineyard is the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region. It is 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the new Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. The ranch encompasses 14,000 acres, of which only 900 are vineyards. The rest remains forests and pasture land dedicated to a cattle ranch operation.
Ancient Peaks Winery is a partnership between three longtime local wine-growing families to craft wines from their jointly-owned Margarita Vineyard on the Santa Margarita Ranch. Co-owners include Karl Wittstrom, Rob Rossi, and Doug Filipponi. Amanda Wittstrom Higgins is the executive vice president. In 2005, the current owners were able to purchase the property from the Mondavi family. The first Ancient Peaks Winery bottles were released in 2006. The wines are distributed in 46 states and Canada.
The operation focuses on sustainability. The property includes 18 wind machines for frost protection. Cover crops prevent erosion and combat weeds. There also is a goat program to minimize weeds. Owl boxes, a wild cat program, and raptor attraction minimizes rodents. There are wildlife corridors. No trees were removed in the planting of the vineyard. Energy efficiency is achieved with solar and wind power. There is minimal tractor usage. Social responsibility includes treating employees and the community with care and respect. They note: “our team has competitive wages, medical insurance, training, and education.”
Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc, Paso Robles 2021 is zesty, tasty, varietally correct. Excellent mouthfeel juxtaposes with grapefruit and lemon tartness, excellent acidity, and the slight murmur of sweetness. Nice layers and complexity for a wine at this price point. Pair with shellfish; crab cakes; fresh oysters; fish; seafood—grilled sole with lemon; herb-roasted chicken breast; pork; Cobb salad and garden salads in general; vegetarian fare. Cheese—goat cheese is the classic sauv blanc pairing; cheddar, gouda, havarti, monterey jack, parmesan, swiss, muenster. $18-20