The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is 87% Sauvignon Blanc and 13% Semillon. The Sauv Blanc is sourced from the Hudson Vineyard, located on the Napa side of the Carneros AVA. The Semillion was taken from the Bavarian Lion Vineyard in the Knights Valley AVA of northeast Sonoma County.
The Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend is inspired by the Bordeaux Blanc wines of France. Most modern Sauvignon Blanc wines, especially in the under $20 category, are modeled on the Sauv Blanc wines of the Loire Valley or New Zealand, crisp, bright wines.
The Semillon softens and rounds off some of Sauvignon Blancs sharper flavors and changes the mouthfeel. This wine is titled “Dissonance” because Blackbird Vineyards specializes in Right Bank Bordeaux Red wines, and this White wine is the wine in their line-up that is different from the others. With a fun fact, Merlot’s French slang word translates to “Blackbird,” and that is where the name of the vineyard comes from.
The grapes for the Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 come from two different climates. The Sauvignon Blanc from Carneros has a cool climate that the San Pablo Bay heavily influences. The Semillon from Knights Valley is located in one of the warmer growing areas in Sonoma, though it does have the cool to cold nighttime temps that grapevines crave.
Most value-priced Sauvignon Blanc is produced as a young wine, meaning that basic winemaking techniques were used, and the wine is not meant for aging. The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019, while still young wine the winery suggests drinking by 2024, has unique and interesting production tools.
The addition of Semillon sets it apart from most of the wee-priced Sauv Blancs, but the Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was aged “on lees” for 4 months. The lees are the dead, spent yeast and grape residue that falls to the bottom of the tank after fermentation. When stirred and the winemaker stirred the lees with this wine, they can add a creamy texture and a salty, slightly nutty flavor depending on how often it is stirred.
The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was aged 30% new French oak; here is the cool part. Oak aging is rare in value Sauv Blanc, and the remaining 70% were aged in clay amphorae jugs. Just like the Romans and the Greeks used to store their wines thousands of years ago. Not only are we getting French oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc, but we are also experiencing wine in a very similar way that Plato and Julius Caesar would have known.
The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 lists for $20 (I found it for $17), and only 36 barrels (about 300 bottles to a barrel) were produced for the 2019 vintage. Each grape was farmed in a single high-end vineyard, and the winemaking includes details rarely seen at this price point. This is looking to be a fascinating wine. The alcohol content is 14.1%.
Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is a pale wheat yellow with maybe a slight green tint. This wine may be less filtered than the typical SAuv Blanc under $20. The nose is crisp and clean; there is melon, lemon, green apple, grapefruit, slightly grassy, with scents of pear and lime.
Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has a rounded mouthfeel, along with flavors that continue to unfold with each sip. It starts with lemon curd and tart grapefruit, followed by lime, Anjou pear, a faint mineral taste, and spice.
The mid-palate adds a salty sensation, apricot, ripe peach, and guava. The flavors are bright but balanced. There are no sharp peaks like the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Even though this Sauvignon Blanc is produced with Bordeaux in mind, I am tasting a very California wine. There is a ripe freshness to the flavors that is very attractive.
- If you are into Sauvignon Blanc, I recommend that you seek out the Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019
- I have not had enough clay amphorae aged wines to understand what it brings to the wine, but I am glad to start that journey with this wine.
- Semillon and a little French oak aging bring a whole new dimension to Sauvignon Blanc. It is still the grape, you know well, but with a little bit more.