Atari and Wine

I would never have thought that the Atari video games that I grew up with would have a connection to good Napa Valley wines. Before Dennis and Judy Groth started their vineyard and winery, Dennis was one of the key architects for the firm that built Atari, a consumer electronic company, into a 2 billion dollar company. In 1984 Atari was sold, and that was enough incentive (and I am sure cash) for Dennis and Judy to expand on their obsession for wine, in a big way.

Groth Vineyard and Winery was established in 1982 and is located in the Oakville AVA of Napa Valley. In addition to their 121 acre Oakcross estate, they also own and operate the 44 acre Hillview Vineyard South of the winery. Check out the cool layout below of the vineyard plantings. If you go to the actual website and click on the different lots, it gives you a actual picture of the vines in that lot, very cool.

The 2006 of Sauvignon Blanc had a delayed bud break which actually saved the grapes from any damage during a record heat wave in July. A great “Indian Summer” during the month of October allowed the grapes to reach optimum brix, and TA levels without hitting monster sugar levels. The wine was made of 96% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Semillon both of which were whole cluster pressed prior to fermentation. After fermentation 70% of the Sauv Blanc went in to retired Chardonnay barrels for aging (sur lies) while the other 30% went into stainless steel tanks. The older oak barrels were used to age the wine perfectly without imparting any oak flavor into the delicate fruity varietal.

My Tasting Notes –

Nose – Grapefruit, papaya, honey

Taste – Lemon, lime, mineral/rocks, pineapple

Mouthfeel – smooth and round, fuller bodied (due to the barrel aging) than most Sauv Blancs initially, turning crisp and refreshing towards the finish

Finish – nice length, smooth with a hint of almond

This was definitely a different Sauvignon Blanc from most I have had. I would say that if you want a Sauvignon Blanc that exemplifies Sauvignon Blanc’s this isn’t it. But if you want a great white wine from California than I would definitely recommend this wine. We had this wine with mushroom barely soup which I am not sure was the best pairing. I think I would have preferred a Red Burgundy or a Barbera instead, but that will be for next time.


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Categories: california, Groth, sauvignon blanc, wine review | Leave a comment