New in the Cellar: 2016 Sauvignon Blanc by Jennifer

We’ve always said that Waits-Mast Family Cellars ONLY produces pinot noir, but that’s not entirely true. We love white wines and have been toying with the idea of expanding our repertoire for awhile, even dabbling in micro batches. Those non-pinot noir forays in 2009 and 2014 led to two interesting wines that were crafted for us by other talented winemakers.


Waits-Mast bottling, February 2017. Photo: J. Waits

Long-time followers may recall a limited run of a 2009 Waits-Mast sparkling wine from Split Rock vineyard in the Sonoma Coast. Comprised of 100% chardonnay, we only made 6 cases of the wine and released it back in 2011.

And then, in 2015 we debuted the 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir Blanc, Anderson Valley, made by Phil Baxter of Baxter Winery. We only got our hands on ten cases of this wine, so it was gone in a flash.

This time around, for our first in-house white, the 2016 Waits-Mast Sauvignon Blanc, we sourced grapes from Mariah Vineyards in Mendocino Ridge. Perched at 2400 feet, we were already well familiar with the site since we’ve been acquiring Pinot Noir grapes from there for several years.


Mariah Vineyards, August 27, 2016. Photo: J. Waits

When we toured Mariah in August, 2016, we still weren’t sure if we’d be able to get Sauvignon Blanc grapes during the impending harvest. It really depended on the yield, and grower Dan Dooling told us he’d let us know when he started picking.

So we were quite surprised to learn a few weeks later via an early morning phone call that our fruit was headed to the winery for processing. We were still in Anderson Valley after Winesong (and Brian’s 50th birthday) weekend and got the call. A series of frenetic calls to our winemaker and the winery ensued and we got our one ton of Sauvignon Blanc to the winery and began this project.

We kept the white wine project a secret and given the circumstances of receiving the fruit, our winemaker Shalini Sekhar code-named it “Surprise Blanc” until we revealed its true identity this Spring.


Sauvignon Blanc grapes at Mariah Vineyard, August 27, 2016. Photo: J. Waits

We couldn’t be more pleased with the results and it’s exciting to finally share a white wine created entirely by Waits-Mast Family Cellars. The wine shows pale lemon-green in the glass with an intense nose of pea shoots, lime, charentais melon, and chamomile.  Bone dry on the palate, the wine’s fresh citrus and grassy flavors are supported by the zippy acidity that carries through to the finish.  This wine screams for summer fare like halibut with herb butter or pasta with mint and peas.

We made 44 cases of the 2016 Waits-Mast Sauvignon Blanc, Mariah Vineyard, releasing it on March 21, 2017. We’re selling through it pretty quickly, so make sure you get a few bottles to chill up for the hot summer days ahead.


2016 Waits-Mast Sauvignon Blanc on bottling day. Photo: J. Waits



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