Quintessa is a blue chip, cult-level winery in Napa Valley — but it only produces one wine, a Bordeaux style blend. But the winery has quietly been making a sauvignon blanc for nearly two decades, bottling under its own label, Illumination. Thoughts on the newly released 2016 vintage follow.
This is a complex sauvignon blanc from the start, with significant tropical notes but also a peach and apricot element, too. There’s a boldness to the body, chewy with a certain nuttiness, leading to a vanilla and shortbread character. The finish is creamy but tart, slightly sweet with brown sugar notes and hints of nutmeg. With notes of lime zest on the conclusion, there’s just a ton going on here, so much more than in the typical sauvignon blanc that hours later I’m still exploring it and finding new flavors.