The Mercer Horse Heaven Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is sourced from their estate Princeton Vineyard near the town of Alderdale is southern Washington. The Horse Heaven Hills AVA (one of the 12 sub-AVA’s inside the Columbia Valley AVA) is located in south central Washington with the Columbia River acting as its southern border, Oregon is on the other side of the river. The Mercer family has a long history in America, the Princeton Vineyard (they farm several vineyards) is so named because the family patriarch Hugh Mercer was a general (fighting for the good guys) during the Revolutionary War and died of wounds received at the Battle of Princeton. He was also a surgeon for Bonny Prince Charlie’s army during the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland and had to flee Scotland after the army was defeated at Culloden (the Mercer’s also have a Culloden Vineyard), so he led quite a life. The Mercer Family has farmed in Horse Heaven Hills since 1886, started off with livestock and row crops and planted their first vineyard in 1972. The fact sheet (their website is full of interesting information) shows only 1% of the 73 acres of the Princeton Vineyard is planted with Sauvignon Blanc, so it seems that all the vineyard had to offer is in this bottling. This is a bright, crisp Sauv Blanc, fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation. The alcohol content is a mild by todays standards 12.5%. And Mercer Estates won Washington State Winery of The Year for 2016.
The color is a very pale, clear, clean straw yellow. The nose is fresh and ripe, green apple, pear, grapefruit, lemon with a bit of spice, and a hint of apricot. Very different from the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, but very appealing. This is a dry, crisp wine, balanced, but with a full mouth-feel. It tastes of lemon with the lime from a gin and tonic, melon, green apple (not sour), and peach. The mid-palate shows guava, grapefruit (not too tart), and a refreshing slap of orange zest. The acidity is in control, this wine will work well with food and also sips nicely. The finish is slightly oily and slowly fades away.
The Mercer Horse Heaven Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is a very American Sauvignon Blanc, not as bold as the New Zealand stuff and not as bright and crisp as the French Sauv Blanc. This wine has a supple body and clean, ripe real fruit and citrus flavors. It is a real alternative rather than a variation on a theme. I am a fan of Washington State wines, even though there are a multitude of micro-climates and soil conditions a theme that runs thru many of the wines is a plush mouth-feel and supple fruit flavors and the Mercer Sauv Blanc embodies that. This is a relatively small production, single AVA, estate wine, where the winery had control of production from the vineyard to fermentation and this wine is priced in the ballpark with high production Brand wines. A check of the internet shows prices a few bucks on each side of 15 dollars. Today, farm to table restaurants are all the rage, but isn’t an estate winery really a farm to table winery? Knowing where your grapes come from and how the wine was produced is every bit as important as who grew the carrots and if the pigs were humanely treated. Support estate wineries, especially when the wine is very fairly priced.