Grapelive: Wine of the Day January 14, 2022

2019 Corral Wine Co, Sauvignon Blanc, Zabala Vineyard, Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County.
Very much like the premier release 2018, the new Corral Sauvignon Blanc was fermented and aged in stainless and is just as excitingly vivid, zesty and pure, as the last one, making it a great Summer sipper and a white that goes great with lighter cuisine, especially delicate fish, goat cheeses, salads and picnic foods. The nose again is striking with gooseberry, wild herbs, white flowers and citrusy, with a touch of guava in this vintage and with a bit more density and presence on the tangy refreshing palate with loads of lemon/lime, white peach, quince and melon fruits. A bright pop from the natural acidity as well as some mineral, saline and wet stone elements make it even more compelling. It has been very interesting to see, as mentioned last time I was reviewing this wine, a Monterey County renaissance of Sauvignon Blanc, it is an amazing turn around for this grape locally, in which a flood of dull wines had made Savvy B a hard pass, it’s a trend I admit I didn’t see coming at all, especially with all the cool alternative grape varietals doing so well here, like Vermentino, Picpoul, Grenache Blanc, Melon, dry Riesling, even Arneis and especially Albariño showing incredibly here. So it is good to see some focused efforts put into the grape and having wines like this one, which is superb with soft cheeses and or grilled shrimp to quaff around with. As I noted before, local winemaker and vineyard guru Ian Brand really thinks we are just beginning to see this grape’s potential in Monterey, especially in Arroyo Seco, it just needs some TLC, in a way it (this wine) reminds of how good some South African coastal climate Sauvignon Blancs can be, like those of Neil Ellis.

The Corral Wine Co., started by Larry Bell, is a family run micro (craft) winery in Corral de Tierra, set in between Carmel Valley and the Salinas Valley, that has a few acres of Pinot Noir vines and has just released their first estate Pinot Noir, which is a beauty as well (more on this one soon) and is available at their newly opened tasting room in the Carmel Valley Village. They have also done a nice job with their Zabala sourced Chardonnay, to go with this tasty Sauvignon Blanc. This wine in the 2018 vintage, was the debut for winemaker Adrien Valenzuela, at Corral, who has been patiently waiting for his chance to show of his cellar skills outside his day job at Constellation Brands in Gonzales. A Salinas and Monterey County native Valenzuela, is one of hugely talented new generation of home grown local winemakers, who was studying biology and nursing, took an internship at Estancia and caught the wine bug. His first solo wine that he made in his garage was a hit at the Mid-State Fair, taking a Gold Medal. As mentioned before, young winemakers have a tough road to success and there are many roadblocks along the way, so it is great to see young people taking their chance and making it in this business. The lineup at Corral is well worth checking out, from this Sauvignon Blanc to their set of Pinots, as well as a deeply colored and full bodied Petite Sirah, I highly recommend trying the full collection. This 2019 Zabala Sauvignon Blanc by Corral is an interesting white, grown on an alluvial wash, ancient river bed and extremely rocky soils, with crisp dry details and mouth watering freshness, it makes for a nice change from the generic versions coming in from New Zealand and its heightened Musqué clone aromatics just adds to the wine’s personality and charm, it is nicely done and it is worth checking out.
($28 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive