Wine review: Sbragia 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Home Ranch

sbragia sbI’m not sure what they’re thinking trying to sell a $18-$20 sauvignon blanc in this economy, but I’d pay that for it since I’ve tasted it. Here I am jumping up and down, trying to tell you that Ed Sbragia is frickin’ brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. He spent most of his career making wine at this little winery called Beringer Vineyards but left in 2008 to devote all his time to a namesake label with his family in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. He’s a true rock star but fame apparently hasn’t gone to his head…  he’s won Winemaker of the Year… been lauded in all the wine magazines… had countless highly-rated wines…and his winemaker son (publicly) calls him “the best dad ever”. He could be a complete egoist yet every year, he delivers incredible product with little to no fanfare.  Perhaps the real secret in life is speak softly and make kick ass wine. Ed Sbragia, you’re my hero.

Ed only makes wines from single vineyards, painstakingly selected for high quality. He should know where all the great grapes are — he’s a third-generation winemaker in California. I imagine there are no tucked-away, secret vineyards for him. But this sauvignon blanc comes from Home Ranch Vineyard, a 5-acre plot the Sbragia family has farmed for decades in Dry Creek Valley. You might ask why this sauvignon blanc is worth $20, when so many others can be had for under $15? Love. Love for the craft of wines, love for the grapes and what these little guys can produce.  Far from the grassy fields of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, this wine has bright yet mellow acidity, ripe pear and red apple flavors, finesse, a creamy mouthfeel (from oak aging in 3-year-old casks) and a refreshing and long citrus finish. Pretty astounding, as are most of the his wines, like the luscious 2007 Gino’s Vineyards Zinfandel.

Sweetness: 2 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
: $18-$20
: Sent from the winery as a sample and consumed with sauteed shrimp and olives with feta cheese.
Food pairing: Seafood dishes of any sort, except oily fish like salmon or swordfish
Availability: Fine wine shops


One Comment

  1. Taylor-

    Kudos for saying what I have believed for years- Ed Sbragia is a rockstar! You hit the nail on the head with your description of him and his wines. I was fortunate to work with Ed for 10 years when he was a Beringer. He was always so approachable, honest, humorous, and willing to help us out in sales. He is the only winemaker to win the Wine Spectator Wine of Year for both a white wine & a red wine, but he never acts like a primadonna. In his sparetime, he plays in a band made up of winemakers called “The Toasted Heads”. So, like you said he really is a rockstar!



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