Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc 2010

1 Jul

Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc 2010

If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve been having an unusual reaction to a specific winemaker over the last several months. I’ll try to try to explain why: as I’ve said before, I’m a French wine snob. I was taught about Bordeaux at a young age, then Burgundies, then Loire wines, and finally ‘country’ French (non AOC) appellations. And when I first started buying serious amounts of wine, I bought a lot of Italian wine because it’s consistent and affordable, even if much of those wines are best at displaying only one or two notes. But like a great ball team, a great wine has to have more than one or two good notes- you can’t live on defense alone. You have to have good game- offense & defense, good management and a great second string standing by.

Well, Jason Moore has done it again. Granted his wines cost a little more than I’d like to pay for wine to drink every day, but his wines are special wines to me and I can justify their cost. To me, they rank up there with classic premiere cru chateaux, top burgundies, & meursaults. Have you ever found something that rocks your palate like a Chateau Margaux, a Cos D’Estournel, a Chateau Smith-Haut Laffite in a domestic Napa wine? There you are. Jason Moore is a rare breed of blending master creating stunning quality, short quantity product. But let me stop pontificating and get to the darn wine.

Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc 2010 is a small batch (only 200 cases made!) 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford Valley, Napa, CA. Slightly high in alcohol(14.2%), the first thing you notice when opening is a funky glass-rubberized stopper instead of a cork. This allows you to seal the bottle well between glasses or servings, without breaking the cork or using a screw cap. Nice, classy touch.

I’ve been drinking this same bottle for several nights now. I opened and tasted, and enjoyed the wine so much I stopped caring about taking notes. The second night was much like the first. The third, I made my neighbor taste and discuss the wine with me, and today I’m determined to write it down. The wine has a pale straw color, with a delicate floral nose of faint orchid and a hint of citrus. The palate is very tropical in the initial taste, then grapefruit, white peach, lemon and lime become dominant as the wine moves backwards and warms in temperature. It’s as if this wine is a hybrid of the best of Napa, New Zealand and Bordeaux. The wine is crisp, dry, sophisticated, and features a lengthy finish that continues to demonstrate the balance and structure.

For those who don’t care for Sauvignon or Fume Blanc wines and complain about the odor of cat urine, I find this wine to be the least offensive and among the most pleasurable to drink of classic Sauv Blancs. The complexity baffled me on my first exposure, and my mouth simply adored what it was experiencing. It’s a little hard to identify- for me it took concentrated effort. How would I summarize this wine? I’d call it stellar, complex, singular- even profound.

Honestly, I find this to be the kind of wine that is served as a pairing wine at the finest restaurants, such as New York’s Le Bernadin, Per Se, and Daniel, California’s French Laundry, and Ortolan, Chicago’s Alinea and Charlie Trotter’s, and Washington, DC’s Citronelle. This is a textbook example of a lush and complex wine these restaurants would snap up in a moment by the dozen cases to serve with a specific dish to make the perfect pairing, and which would easily demand $30/glass or $120/bottle by the restaurant. On a lower scale, today I had visited a Manhattan restaurant and ordered halibut with an artichoke sauce that was nicely cooked, I selected an ‘09 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which paired ok with the sauce and not with the fish, but this advanced, deep and complex Sauvignon Blanc pairing would have paired both in differing, powerful ways and taken the dish above its station to the next level, which is what real cuisine is all about!

At $33/bottle direct from Modus Wines, it’s no bargain basement wine or an every day quaff for 90% of the wine lovers out there. But as long as Moore is making wines at this level, I’d love to be able to score a case of this each year to put in the cellar and bring out for Thanksgiving, July 4, and special occasions… or just special pairings, as a mere sip brings a smile to my face.

What blows my mind is that this winemaker has managed to stun me FOUR times with four wines. Moore is blending grapes and making master-level wines, in small quantities, at a world-class level. What will he do next? I’m on the edge of my seat to find out. 

à votre santé!


2 Responses to “Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc 2010”

  1. winery March 22, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Have you ever had a truly memorable glass of wine?
    How about a unforgettable bottle? Which was additional critical in your knowledge, the
    organization or even the wine by itself?



  1. Saturday Chat: Seeking the ‘right’ White Wine | jvb uncorked - March 9, 2013

    […] 3) Now, this is too dry, but I think you might enjoy knowing about it. My personal favorite white wine to cellar and serve for special meals is sauvignon blanc over $30/bottle, so I don’t drink it often though I keep several bottle on hand and buy it direct from the California manufacturer: Modus Operandi’s Sauvignon Blanc. (Have I ever mentioned the delicious Napa cabernet sauvignon that had the essence of chocolate-covered strawberries on the finish?) This is from that same, amazing winemaker!) This sauv blanc reminds me of a great white bordeaux blend with the finest of California and New Zealand grapes. I raved about it here back in July. […]


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