Sauvignon Blanc

Leah Jorgensen Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Country USA
Region Oregon
Producer Leah Jorgensen Cellars


Style White
Practices Sustainable
Grapes Sauvignon Blanc

100% Sauvignon Blanc from Crater View Vineyard, a beautiful site with a distant view of Crater Lake. It is farmed by Quail Run Vineyards, where Leah Jorgensen’s also sources her Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Nearly two acres of Sauvignon Blanc were planted in 2006 in two separate fields with a total of 4 blocks in silty loam soils, with about 800 vines per acre. The soil series is predominantly Ruch silty loam, Brader-Debenger loam, Medford silty clay loam, and the vineyard is set in western, southern, and eastern aspects, with the Sauvignon Blanc rows facing north. Leah sources her grapes from a single block in Field 12, which is about 0.8 acres, with the vines trained on a vertical shoot positioning trellis system. The summer of 2015 introduced a remarkable discovery! While clearing a field for a new block in Crater View, the vineyard managers unearthed 250 million year old blueschist rocks, as well as other ancient ocean bottom rocks, suggesting limestone, sandstone, shale, and clay loam material due to the excavation of rock containing ancient marine mollusk shells, fossils and shellfish imprints. The site is Salmon-Safe, Oregon Certified Sustainable, and L.I.V.E. certified.

The incredible minerality comes from this single vineyard and has an expressive quality along the lines of a Loire Valley Pouilly-Fumé, which gets its distinctive hint of smoky gun-flint (hence fumé) from limestone and flint clay soils – connections Leah’s finding in this site. The fruit arrived in the winery clean and at lower brix with delicious, fresh melon flavors, and was immediately whole cluster pressed on a gentle cycle. A minimal dose of sulphur was added in the press pan to preserve glutathione, a natural grape antioxidant in Sauvignon Blanc, to prevent premature aging. The juice settled in a chilled tank for 48 hours, was racked to a stainless steel tank and drums for fermentation, then finished with just under 1% residual sugar to balance the naturally high acidity. Aged in stainless steel tanks and acacia barrels. The lees were stirred regularly to impart creaminess, richness, and complexity. The wine was clarified and stabilized, then filtered just before bottling.

Inspired by recent Pouilly-Fumé producers who are making more off-dry versions of Sauvignon Blanc with augmented richness and complexity, this “Loiregon” version presents gentle floral notes of white flowers, elder flower, juniper, lime blossom with a suggestion of smoky gun-flint. The wine opens with mouthwatering acidity, a tart bite of gooseberry and blood orange, then meanders into a soft richness with minerality, chalkiness, sweet melon notes, and finishes with earthy hazelnut. The herbal component is classic, while the rich, nutty, saline/umami finish comes from lees stirring. 13.5% alcohol. 336 cases produced.

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About the Producer

"Making pretty wines in the Pacific Northwest, one barrel at a time. 100% inspiré par les vins de Loire!"

Leah Jørgensen created her own interpretations of Loire style wines based on site selection, taking a close look at what the vintage is giving her. She has worked in every capacity of the wine industry (aside from vineyard management) for the past fifteen years. She began working in the Oregon wine industry in 2004, starting at Erath Vineyards in Dundee, transitioning to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, WA, and returning to Oregon to work for Adelsheim Vineyard, before offering marketing consulting for a handful of wineries. At the same time, she studied enology for two years at the Northwest Viticulture Center in Salem. She worked her first full harvest at Anne Amie Vineyards in 2009, followed by two years of cellar work at Shea Wine Cellars in 2010 and 2011. She also assisted Shea winemaker Drew Voit with his Harper Voit wines both vintages, and crafted her first small lot of Cabernet Franc in 2011. In 2012, she went on to assist winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick as his sole harvest intern at Alloro Vineyard while working on her second vintage at a new winemaking facility on Beacon Hill Vineyard in Gaston.
Leah knew she wanted to make wine the moment she visited Oregon, although she initially had an inclination to ferment grape juice back when she worked at a small winery in Virginia. It took her only a decade to realize that dream. The desire to work with Oregon fruit is definitely a nod to her father’s agricultural roots, as he grew up on a small family farm outside of Eugene. Her ultimate dream is to buy that land back one day, plant a vineyard and name it after her grandparents. Leah's passion for the Loire Valley stems from her experience working for the distributor that represented Louis Dressner Selection in her hometown of Washington, DC.
Her signature, limited Blanc de Cabernet Franc is the very first commercial still white Cab Franc made. In 2012, she added the Oregon “Tour Rain” Vin Rouge, a fruity Gamay Noir/Cabernet Franc blend inspired by the Touraine region in the Loire, and a 100% “Flat Track” Cabernet Franc – Limited Roller Derby Edition, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Portland’s Rose City Rollers league and associated charities.

Viticulture and vinification practices: many of Leah's vineyard partners are organic in practices. They are all LIVE certified and Salmon Safe. The grapes are always hand-harvested. Depending on the vintage - Leah had issue with wildfires, and with that comes the increase vulnerability for volatile phenolics and volatile acidity - cultured yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) might be used as they can resist to these environments. Global warming and increased heat spikes, which introduces larger colonies of spoilage bacteria from the vineyard, esp. pediococcus bacteria, are also a factor, and the  only way to mitigate these issues is to inoculate, else have another microbe start and complete fermentation - which can result in an incomplete fermentation, leading to a myriad of problems. When inoculation is needed, Leah uses mostly non-GMO, naturally sourced yeast cultures. The filtration is minimal - crossflow filtration, a gentle process that removes hazardous materials (biogenic amines), leaves the colloidal materials that give a wine its texture and mouthfeel, and removes the material that masks the natural aromatic and flavor compounds that come from the grape. Adjustment for acidity depends on the vintage and site, especially in the light of global warming. 

Leah Jørgensen

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