Lifetime QPR Achievement Award: Honig Sauvignon Blanc

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

We're flying back from Naples, Florida right now after a spectacular President's Day weekend visit. The differential in weather this time of year between Boston and Florida is amazing. Going from Boston's heavy grey slush and waves of commute-disrupting snow events to Florida's 80F, palm trees, and cloudless skies in a 3 hour flight always feels like magical time travel to me.

This was our second time to Florida in the last few months and each time the warmer weather inspired me to check in with one of my go-to white wine QPR favorites: Honig Sauvignon Blanc.

Honig Vineyard & Winery is a Napa producer focused on the sustainable production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Louis Honig started farming 68 acres in Rutherford in 1961, but the winery started in earnest in the eighties when Michael Honig and other family members began producing high quality Cabernet. Today Winemaker Kristen Belair oversees production with an emphasis on sustainable practices as a family winery.

They do make a couple of other bottlings sold mostly at the winery but I do think their focus on two grape varieties helps them to do a particularly good job crafting a consistently outstanding product.

Their Napa-designated Cabernet was their first wine I discovered. It carries a release price of $45 and at 15,000 cases produced it's widely available and can be had for just over $30 if you look around. Spectator ratings have been on the rise especially lately - but their Cab is almost always rated 90+. I remember trying it for the first time about 8 years ago in a blind tasting at The Hingham Wine Merchant. Proprietor Dick Graham included this in the line-up of more famous and expensive names and when I tasted the Honig I was like "man - that's what Napa Cab should taste like". It's always has this signature combination of plush fruit and supporting savory notes I adore in a wine.

The Sauvignon Blanc has a release price of $17. 50,000 cases of the 2012 were produced and it's one of my favorite sub-$15 white wines year-in and year out. You can usually find it for around $13-$14 at discount retailers. Spectator usually rates it 87-89 but I think that's more a reflection of the category than the quality. I recall Gary Vaynerchuk once exaggerating that "all of the Sauvignon Blanc in California should be torn out of the ground". If that actually happened it would be a shame because Sauvignon Blanc like Honig's are some of my favorites.

I had the 2012 Honig Sauvignon Blanc for the first time at Todd English's Blue Zoo within the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel (my TripAdvisor review of the Walt Disney World Swan here). It may have been the complimentary childcare and company speaking, but I thought the meal and wine were spectacular that night. Along with a 2010 Domaine Serene Evenstad (probably the best Oregon Pinot Noir I've ever had) that meal alone re-ignited my interest in focusing on pairings and exploring more white wines in the coming year.

For me, the Honig wines find that precious intersection of quality, crowd-pleasing deliciousness and value. And the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc is as good as the wine has ever been. Grab some for when the weather finally warms up...

2012 Honig Sauvignon Blanc
13.5% Alcohol
50,000 Cases Produced
$17 Release Price

On the nose I get a grapefruit, passion fruit and pineapple. On the palate just a hint of stony acidity - but mostly luscious tropical goodness. This wine is a reliable QPR favorite around here and 2012 is as good as its ever been.

91/100 WWP: Outstanding


Check 'em out:
Honig Vineyard & Winery

Question of the Day: Have you tried Honig Sauvignon Blanc lately? What are some of your go-to summery white wine QPR favorites?


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