Alpha Mare White was born out of our love of White Bordeaux. Those wines with their tantalizing mix of freshness and complexity, their subtle minerality, and full but clean texture have served as our inspiration. We source our fruit from the heart of the Coombsville AVA, in a vineyard named after the Greek goddess, Hestia.
Protected by a copse of trees on one side and wild chaparral on the other, this small vineyard is located in a low-lying swale of gravelly well-drained soils. Keeping the crop load very low and harvesting before the hottest days of summer is key to protecting this wine’s freshness. We harvest at night by hand and then press the grapes in a long slow press cycle.
The juice is transferred into a combination of new and used French oak barrels for fermentation. Working closely with our favorite Bordelaise cooperage we created a unique barrel specifically designed to support the fruit and mouth feel of this very special wine. Our 2017 Alpha Mare White is aged “Sur lie” 22 months developing exceptional complexity and stability. The wine has freshness, depth, and grace. This complex wine has been built to last.
Aromas here are reflective of the warmer vintage, with honeyed beeswax, Gewürztraminer-like spicy florals, ripe stone fruit and the suggestion of fresh-cut straw. Once in the mouth, these characters are balanced with lifted, delicate and complex notions of melon and peach tea. The beautiful arc is grounded by an undercurrent of fleshy roundness and warmth creating a lovely mid-palate retention which resolves into a clean uplifting finish. This complex and mercurial wine will easily carry you from aperitif through an entire meal seamlessly.
A discussion of the 2017 vintage, often brings mention of the labor-day heat storm when temperatures in Napa reached 106F even in Coombsville. Heat is a critical force in white winemaking due to the delicate and transparent nature of white wine flavor profiles and impact of heat on acid retention and final alcohol due to spikes in sugar resulting from dehydration. Armed with our technological crystal ball we weighed the impact of a series of hot days and instead scheduled our second pick of the very early 2017 harvest pleased with the lovely balance of freshness and ripeness we’d already achieved.