11 March 2009

2003 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc

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Sometimes I'll grab a bottle of wine at random. I won't even read the back label. In this case, I hadn't had a Sauvignon Blanc in a while and was craving one, so when I saw one that was unfamiliar and reasonably priced, I just carried it up to the counter. The craving passed and the bottle rattled around in the refrigerator for weeks, finally getting pulled out when a friend was over.

At some point I'd figured out that the wine was much older and much darker than expected; you can see the amber color in parts of the photo. (I thought the glass was just dark when I purchased it.) And a $15 Sauvignon Blanc that's six years old? It could have been a disaster. But something magic had happened in that half dozen years.

The 2003 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc is from Napa Valley, California. It has an opening aroma of old magazines. I'm talking about a stack of National Geographics up in the attic, or the periodicals section of a library that's been around for decades. From there things just got more and more fascinating, with various aromas and flavors bouncing around: lemon, honeysuckle, green apples, cotton candy, buttered toffee, marshmallows... It was slightly sweet but unbelievably complex. Over the course of an hour it unfolded like a glossary of wine terms.

Printed on the cork was a tiny bit of Hebrew: לחיים or l'chaim, "To life!" And upon further inspection, the wine is kosher. It's always good to keep track of a few excellent kosher wines. I'm looking forward to trying some recent vintages, and perhaps socking away a couple of bottles in hopes of a future miracle.


Samantha Dugan said...

From the description you give I would say the wine was a little maderized...or a lot maderized, so cool that you dug it. I like that flavor but in very small doses and only when I expect it, like in a Vin Juane or much older white Burgundy, might be taken aback if I found it in Sauvignon Blanc.

This is why I love reading your blog, you are not all jaded like some of us industry twits...you are a healthy reminder as to why we do this, having fun, discovering and making each wine an adventure...awesome.

Benito said...


That's entirely possible--I've had some wines that were completely ruined by being madeirized. This one... it just somehow worked. The acid and sweetness really balanced each other out.

Was it flawed? Perhaps, but in this case that flaw improved the whole. Let's call it the Mole on Cindy Crawford's Cheek effect.