2020 Ink Grade, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, USA

2020 Ink Grade, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, USA

Product: 20208175489
Prices start from £360.00 per case Buying options
2020 Ink Grade, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, USA

Buying options

Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Storage charges apply.
Case format
Price per case
6 x 75cl bottle
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Coming from low yielding vines that were planted in 1996 on volcanic soils, the nose expresses aromatic white flowers, bee vax, and apricot. The palate carries toasty oak notes with grace, and subtly saline creamy texture. A beautiful balance and the finish is long and mineral laced. Great to enjoy now but my goodness, this wine can stand the test of time.

Sigurdur Thor Gunnlaugsson, Account Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd (December 2023)

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Critics reviews

Antonio Galloni, Vinous93/100

The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc is generous and expansive in feel. Lemon confit, mango, mint, apricot and light tropical accents all grace this exotic Sauvignon Blanc. I have never tasted anything quite like it. The viscous textural profile is especially distinctive and compelling.

Ink Grade is a new estate essentially created by carving out vineyards that once were part of Burgess. Winemaker Matt Taylor blended the 2018s and 2019s (which I did not taste) and has made the wines from start to finish beginning in 2020. The reds are big, powerful mountain wines, yet Taylor has done an admirable job taming some of those brutish tannins. The Sauvignon Blanc is also very distinctive.

Drink 2022 - 2027

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (February 2023)

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Wine Advocate89/100

Despite a relatively low declared alcohol (12.5%), Ink Grade's 2020 Sauvignon Blanc is ripe and honeyed on the nose, with just a subtle herbaceousness accenting fig and melon notes. Aged in a mix of concrete and oak, it's medium-bodied, with a pleasant, silky feel in the mouth, but it is already showing considerable development and even slightly oxidative notes. It's a distinctive style that won't fit many people's stereotypical idea of what Sauvignon Blanc should be but offers enjoyment for the open-minded.

Drink it over the next year or so.

Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (March 2023)

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James Suckling92/100

Lots of dried apricot, peaches and sliced red apple. Full and layered with a rich and oily character. Lots of phenolic texture. Remains lively. Made in concrete, stainless and cask. Exotic nature to this. Sauvignon blanc planted on Howell Mountain in 1996. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification.

Drink now

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (March 2023)

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About this WINE

Ink Grade

Ink Grade

Precariously clinging to the side of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, Ink Grade is a newly founded estate with historic vines that genuinely express their terroir. The property’s history goes back to 1873 when Ulysses S. Grant signed over a land deed for the site located on Howell Mountain. Ink Grade was once part of Heitz Cellar. Heitz purchased the property in 1989 and planted it in 1990 and 1991. Most of the fruit was sold to other producers under the Heitz family, but the brilliance of the Howell Mountain terroir spoke loudly, and in 2020, the property was launched as a standalone project.

The wines are crafted to showcase richness without heaviness, to represent a sense of place! - “Ink Grade is important for upholding the region’s heritage and the excitement of discovering beautiful vineyard locations, hidden like gems within this Valley. The wines showcase the direct relationship between the volcanic soil of Howell Mountain and the purity of the fruit it produces,” says Carlton McCoy. “A true artefact of a place, Ink Grade is truly a grand cru of Howell Mountain.”

Matt Taylor is the winemaker; having joined in 2020, he brings vast experience, having held positions at Joseph Swan along with Domaine Dujac. His lightness of touch with the likes of Pinot Noir has adapted perfectly to this world-class terroir. “Terraced on the extreme slopes of Howell Mountain, Ink Grade Estate possesses a raw tension that renders fruit of immense intensity and depth. If ever there was a site which imparted a feeling of reverence, Ink Grade is such a place.” — Matt Taylor, Winemaker.

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Napa Valley

Napa Valley

North Coast's Napa Valley is California's most famous viticultural area (AVA), claiming some of the most expensive agricultural land in the world and producing wines of ‘cult’ status.

Its 16,000 ha of vines lie over a strip (40 miles long-5 miles wide) of diverse soils (clay, gravely, volcanic), with its northernmost end on the side of Mountain Helena and its foot in San Francisco Bay. The valley is framed by two mountains ranges Vaca (to the north) and Mayacamas (to the south), yet the main climatic influence is the cool wind and fog that is sucked in from San Pablo Bay during the afternoon, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. 

The area enjoys a variety of unique microclimates, as temperatures can vary dramatically as much as 15 degrees, from the north to the south end of the valley. These differences have led to the creation of several sub-AVAs (14 in total) including:

Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville, Wild Horse Valley and Oak Knoll District. The Calistoga AVA is still pending approval.

Both the “Napa Valley” designation and the sub-AVA name must appear on the wine label simultaneously, with the exception of wines from the Carneros AVA, which is shared between the Napa Valley and the Sonoma County.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed king of Napa grapes, occupying over 45% of the vineyard acreage, followed by (predominantly) Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cab. Franc and to a lesser extent Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto.

Recommended Producers
Frog's Leap, Dominus, David Ramey, Viader, Stag's Leap Cellars, Paras Vineyards, Heitz.

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Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

An important white grape in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley that has now found fame in New Zealand and now Chile. It thrives on the gravelly soils of Bordeaux and is blended with Sémillon to produce fresh, dry, crisp  Bordeaux Blancs, as well as more prestigious Cru Classé White Graves.

It is also blended with Sémillon, though in lower proportions, to produce the great sweet wines of Sauternes. It performs well in the Loire Valley and particularly on the well-drained chalky soils found in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where it produces bone dry, highly aromatic, racy wines, with grassy and sometimes smoky, gunflint-like nuances.

In New Zealand, Cloudy Bay in the 1980s began producing stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines with extraordinarily intense nettly, gooseberry, and asparagus fruit, that set Marlborough firmly on the world wine map. Today many producers are rivalling Cloudy Bay in terms of quality and Sauvignon Blanc is now New Zealand`s trademark grape.

It is now grown very successfully in Chile producing wines that are almost halfway between the Loire and New Zealand in terms of fruit character. After several false starts, many South African producers are now producing very good quality, rounded fruit-driven Sauvignon Blancs.

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