You see, Jeff Fischer one of my all time favorite restaurant investors brought me a taste of his latest endeavor, his small-production wine project called Habit. This is as boutique as you can get with a fifty case production, made by a novice winemaker with passion to spend countless hours making such a small amount of wine and applying each bottle's intensely detailed label by hand.
Under the tutelage of winemaker Doug Margerum, Fischer bought a tiny amount of fruit from a few different vineyards in Santa Ynez, fermented and aged it in stainless steel. The interesting thing is that he achieved a softness and delicacy not typical of sauvignon blanc aged in steel. Whereas many winemakers employ the use of oak to soften this grape variety, Fischer accomplished this without the oak and successfully avoided the cloying and sweetening effect that the oak can impart on the wine.
From the moment I smelled the wine, I was hooked. The catch word for this wine is restraint. On its nose, savory dill and tarragon blend with aromas of citrus and passionfruit. All of the typical sauvignon blanc notes are present, but in such an unusually quiet way. The scents in the glass tease and tempt, rather than knock you down as so many other sauvignon blancs do. The palate reflects the same elegance with crisp citrus and tropical notes and delicate, clean acidity.
I know a lot of people that don't particularly like sauvignon blanc, mainly because of its aggressive, sharp nature. Only in the form of an older white Bordeaux does the wine hold appeal to them. This is a young California wine that will change their minds. Its balance and minerality makes the wine drink much more like a white Burgundy than anything else. Even Suzanne, my business partner (exactly the sauvignon blanc hater that I refer to) loved this wine and took a bottle home to drink with her husband.
Fischer set out to make a wine that he would like to drink himself. I always think that this is the best strategy for any project. Follow your heart, and those of like mind will join you. I know that I could drink this wine all day long. I think this wine really could become addictive.