2018 Championship Bottle, Sauvignon Blanc “Lost Verses” Durant Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
A new white wine from a tiny producer in Amity that focuses on cool climate white wines with a nod to the wines of Northern Italy and especially the Friuli region, with this slightly smoky and thrilling Sauvignon Blanc showing the promise of this style of wine here and the recent rise in quality versions of Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc in the Willamette Valley. Championship Bottle does an intriguing collection, sold mostly to their small mailing list, that includes this savvy (Sauvignon) Blanc as well as pure Pinot Blanc, a very cool Friuli style blend of 26% Ribolla Gialla, 8% Tocai Friulano, and 33% each Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, which I also tried and highly recommend, it is almost as cool as Cameron’s similar Friuli like version, plus a couple of Chardonnays as well as a totally unique Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir co-fermented red called to Broken Radios. This Lost Verses Sauvignon Blanc, only two barrels made, shows the volcanic soils of the Dundee Hills with that mineral and smoky note, but really opens up nicely on the palate with racy lemon/lime, tart peach and crisp tropical fruits, adding hints of gooseberry and quince with time in the glass, making for an exciting example of this varietal that reminds me of some Sancerre(s) and Alto Adige, like Terlano’s Sauvignon Blanc, which is high praise! The combination of fruit and minerality is one of the hallmarks of top Sauvignon Blancs from around the world and as the winery notes, it is this quality that sets good ones apart from the mundane. I must say, after decades of not loving new world SB or Pinot Blanc, Oregon has brought me back to these grapes, plus a few inspired versions in my home state of California.

Championship Bottle believe there is a bright future for Sauvignon Blanc in the Willamette, saying Lost Verses makes a strong case that Sauvignon Blanc is the most underplanted great white grape in the Willamette Valley, which after trying Bow & Arrow’s last couple of vintages and this one, I might tend to agree, especially ones that have the attention to detail and care paid to them as this one had. Also, I think pushing a stylist niche makes a huge difference with this grape, as generic stainless steel and over cropped versions are extremely boring, plus we have a sea of basic Sauvignon Blanc that no one really needs already, especially and sadly from New Zealand. The Lost Verses, which gained a beautiful textural richness as it came alive with air and developed a pretty white flowers aroma once the steely/smokiness blew off, came from grapes that got an extra few weeks of hang time to give more complexity, it was superb with food as well, I would buy a few more bottles if I could. The Sauvignon Blanc for this wine came from the renowned Durant Vineyard in the Dundee Hills, mainly known for top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and was. harvested several weeks after the Pinot Noir vines, then the grapes were macerated overnight on the skins before being pressed and fermented in older French oak barrels. The wine was raced gently off the lees after 10 months and transferred to tank to clarify, but was bottled without filtration or finning to preserve absolute purity of terroir and keep every characteristic in place. Like I said, I would like a few more bottles and I’ll be looking forward to Championship Bottle’s new releases that are due out soon! The zingy acidity and the oak aging were perfectly judged here and I can see this Lost Verses aging really well too, I easily imagine it evolving in profound ways, this is tasty stuff.
($27 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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