Sarah Quider has a trick for keeping herbaceous flavors out of fume blanc. She harnesses the sun.
The executive winemaker is behind our wine-of-the-week winner – Ferrari-Carano, 2015 Sonoma County Fume Blanc at $14.
What makes this sauvignon blanc a standout is its range. It has aromas and flavors of grapefruit, mango, peach and pineapple. While it has a creamy texture, it manages to have a crisp finish. This wine is well-crafted.
“We try to make a fume blanc that has these fruit characteristics -- pineapple, peaches, pears, grapefruit, guava, kiwi,” she said. “We generally bulk out any lots that have bell pepper and grassy aromas. We do put some of our lots into older neutral oak barrels to add a little creaminess and roundness on the palate without adding any oak flavors.”
To make this style of fume blanc, Quider relies on the sun.
“We open up the canopy to let sun flecks into the fruiting zone so that we burn off any green, herbaceous character that the grapes can give,” Quider said. “We want to have nice pineapple, peach and guava characteristic in the grapes.”
The biggest obstacle?
“I would say the most challenging part is trying to be as consistent as possible with our changing weather patterns,” Quider said. “Mother Nature has a very big influence on how the wines turn out each year and we want to make our fume blanc as consistent as possible.”
Quider, 49, was lured to the world of wine by its aromas and flavors.
“I fell into this business years ago when my first job out of college was to sample the Pacific Rock Fish for a study with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission,” she said. “I had to cut fish every day and hated the smell and finding fish scales in my hairs hours later when I got home. That’s when I took a harvest position and I fell in love with all the wonderful aromas and flavors...no fish smell!!”
Quider was taken by wine, from vine to glass.
“I realized that wine is always changing and I love the evolution it has from starting point in the vineyard to finally aging and drinking it,” she said. “It brings back a lot of memories for me.
A Sonoma County native, Quider grew up in the cradle of wine growing. She studied biology at Sonoma State University and viticulture and enology at UC Davis.
“I’m passionate about what I do and love the process of winemaking,” she said. “I count my blessing every day that I get to make wine.”