White Cottage Ranch, Napa Valley

At a luncheon with Rudy Zuidema, the winemaker from White Cottage Ranch, we had the opportunity to sample his incredible wines from Napa Valley.  We enjoyed his wines over a great lunch at South Gate, including a Margarita Pizza for an appetizer for the group, and I had the Curry Apple Soup and Salmon BLT for an entree.  Everything was fantastic, especially the wines!

White Cottage is a bio-dynamic winery, and Rudy's passion for his winemaking and for his organic farming is truly evident in the bottle.  The excitement, the hard work, and the incredible care he develops in each of the wines shines in each of the labels we tried that day.  And now on with the show...

White Cottage Ranch, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 2009
The nose is crisp with bright grapefruit and citrus aromas.  There are hints of oak in the flavor profile due to 90% of fermentation in Steel Barrels, the juice is transferred to oak barrels to round out the acid and high citrus profiles.  Within this process, the palate develops a Champagne-esk flavor and a slightly creamy edge.  The finish has a clean acid finish that leaves your palate fresh.  As Rudy is transitioning into the 2010 vintage, you may not be able to find much '09 stock, however, in his words, "the 2010 White Cottage is the best Sauvignon Blanc he has ever made."  $18.29 online from the International Wine Shop.

White Cottage Ranch, "Risa," Cabernet Blend, Napa, 2006
The amazing nose is full of rich spice, cocoa, and sweet aromas.  The spice follows through to the palate, with round blackberry and ripe plum flavors, and a dry, cinnamon finish.  This vintage is difficult to find online, however, I did find the 2007 at TheWineCountry for $27.99.

White Cottage Ranch, Cabernet Franc, Napa, 2006
Black pepper, green pepper, and rich, dark fruit on the beautiful nose.  I was surprised how soft the tannins were throughout the front, middle, and back of the palate.  A phenomenal structure lush with rich and deep black and red fruits that burst all throughout the palate, and finally, once again, a very surprisingly easy finish.  This is one of the best Cab Francs I have ever sampled.  This was also a tough find online, but it would retail for about $34-$38, and approximately $50-$65 in restaurants.

White Cottage Ranch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Howell Mountain, Napa, 2007
A beautiful juicy aroma with stone fruits and a sweet oriental spice ('Chinese Five Spice' was running rampant in my mind - weird, I know, but it worked very well for the wine).  Luscious deep red fruits on the palate with great streaks of ripe strawberries, with rich and easy tannins, that produce a clean, want-more-ful finish.  The 2007 does not seem to be fully out in the market online, but you may find several 2005's and other vintages when searching on WineZap, ranging from $29.99 to $69.88.

I love tastings that have only a few wines to showcase, and White Cottage fit perfectly into that category.  It allows you to spend more time with the wine, and understand it more.  While all four wines were amazing, my favorite was the Howell Mountain Cab.  And as you can see, for the wonderful profiles of these wines, they are not overly expensive.  Given the quality of these wines, I would have placed them in a higher price bracket (but I'm glad they're not!).  Great job, Rudy, and we will be enjoying your wines for a very long time at the club!


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