2012 J. Rochioli, Sauvignon Blanc, Old Vines, Russian River Valley.
This was the first time I got one of the rare original block old vine Sauvignon Blanc from Rochioli, which is sadly only available on their mailing list, usually when a bottle isn’t offered to public I don’t review it, but this was so noteworthy I couldn’t just not mention it and hopefully it might show up on the secondary market or winebid.com. While the Rochioli Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc is a good one and more readily available, even to walk ins at their tasting room on Westside Road, not far from Healdsburg, this Old Vine bottling is a stunning white wine, you’ll notice it is done under the J. Rochioli label found on their single vineyard wines, it has wonderful depth and energy, and being that is has a few years on it, shows a fully mature character with less grapefruit and grassiness and more quince, mineral and peach with a well integrated density and oak shadings along with layers of lemon/lime, gooseberry, a leesy brioche, wet river rock, saline and tangy garden herbs. The acidity is still lifting and bright, but there is a real sense of texture forming here and it feels more like a flashy white Bordeaux than a Pouilly-Fume, though remains focus, balanced and elegant, this wine certainly impresses and is nothing short of lovely. I must admit, I’ve grown weary and bored with most California Sauvignon Blanc, especially the dull and generic volume offerings from Napa Valley and Sonoma, even from well known brands, so when I get a thrill from a California version I feel an obligation to bring it it to the attention of wine lovers, and no doubt this J. Rochioli Old Vine Sauvignon Blanc is a brilliant wine that gives riveting detail and pleasure on the palate, I just wish it was easier to get. If you are looking to get a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that will blow your mind this one just might be your choice, it joins a short list of great California Sauvignon Blancs along with Shared Notes, Peter Michael, Ojai Vineyards, Spottswoode and my value favorite Stolpman, though of course there are ones not mentioned here that are intriguing, though I highly recommend looking beyond the likes of Cakebread and Duckhorn for the best in the state’s Sauvignon Blanc. This J. Rochioli highlights the importance of saving old vines and making wines that reflects history and terroir, it has that x factor and deserves attention and wider praise, it is a wonderful bottle of wine that is aging well, best now through 2024.
($55 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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