While there will always be those who scoff at the notion (I’ll cop to having been one of them once upon a time), I’ve learned that the content of a wine glass can taste as much of states of being and experiences lived as they do of peach blossoms and rose. Over the years since I enjoyed my first sip, I’ve poured myself a glass or two of first kisses, painful goodbyes, and new freedoms. I’ve swirled bowls filled with rooftop parties and summer songs sung to the stars and with first hugs of the New Year. It doesn’t happen often, and the wine that evokes it isn’t always phenomenal, but the sensation is never unwelcome when it finds me.
The obvious answer, then, to the obvious question of why I chose this moment to bring that up is that I sampled something recently that tasted like a memory.
Hailing from Chile’s sun-warmed Central Valley, this 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (2% Semillon) white by Santa Rita has grassy aromatics, an expression not out of character for sauvignon blanc, though this one hides elderflowers and ripened pear among those dewy blades. Giving it a swirl awakens notes of gooseberry, grapefruit, and lime near the top rim of the glass. Together those notes comprise a melody that suggests a pleasant drinking experience lying in wait just up the road a piece, past the citrus trees and blossoming berry bushes.
On the palate, the gooseberry and citrus hints resurface, coaxing occasional flashes of green apple along for the ride. All the bracing acidity one expects of a young, solid sauvignon blanc, and an alcohol level that’s more than up to the task of lending some edge to the softer, fruity elements contribute to a pleasing finish that lingers like the last light of a summer afternoon well-spent. While it’s perfectly suitable for enjoying now (preferably with cold salads or shellfish), this wine has me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what complementary flavors and aromas a couple of years spent aging will awaken in it.
Oh, and that memory I tasted?
As much as I’d love for it to be a recollection of sweaty nights spent tangled in the limbs of a tireless lover in a beach bungalow on a private island, it’s (for better or worse) far more benign than that. The memory is from my childhood, of walking in my grandmother’s garden among her flower bushes and fruit trees. That kind woman and the garden she doted on have been gone for well over a decade, but for a brief moment, this wine’s aroma deposited me back there, in my eight-year-old skin. One can only imagine where the bottle aging in my cellar will take me in a year or two.
Ready to earn more about the entire catalog of Santa Rita 120 wines? Here you go.