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Matt Ortman releases his first wines at Villa San-Juliette 

Winemaker Matt Ortman

Winemaker Matt Ortman

Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery, recently released its 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Pinot Gris, the first wines crafted after winemaker Matt Ortman joined the team last year.

Pinot Gris

“These were the first VSJ wines I had my hands on through the entire winemaking process, from harvest to the bottle, and I’m really happy with them,” said Ortman, whose background includes growing up in a venerated winemaking family and working with a broad selection of varieties and appellations across Northern California, Oregon and Italy.

“I’ve been most surprised by the Pinot Gris,” Ortman confesses. “It came in very early – earlier than anything else – and it came in really red from the heat. The challenge for our crew was to unlock expressive aromatics from the skins without extracting too much of the color. That was our goal, and I think we achieved it.”

Hot days in San Miguel allowed the fruit for the 2013 Villa San-Juliette Pinot Gris to develop lush ripeness, while cool nights and an early harvest preserved its acidity and elegance. Gentle pressing and a temperature-controlled ferment in stainless steel were followed by six months of aging in neutral French oak barrels. The resulting platinum-hued wine is delicate and flavorful with aromas of peach cobbler and pear. Light acidity balances the silky mouthfeel and accentuates the softer flavors of melon, nutmeg, and Golden Delicious apples, all of which make this 100% Pinot Gris wine a nice pairing for everything from goat cheese to roasted pork tenderloin.

Grapes for the VSJ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc were harvested on two different days in order to maximize flavor potential. The first pick was vibrant with lime zest and freshly-mown grass notes, while the second lot benefitted from longer hang-time on the vine and showcased tropical fruit flavors with a luscious mouthfeel. Combined in one blend, the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc offers ripe melon, lemongrass, and honeysuckle aromas, and bursts with lively acidity and lush citrus and honeycomb flavors. Refreshing and vibrant, this wine is a great accent for antipasto, fresh summer salad, and spicy dishes.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.