Cameron Parry was taking a wine appreciation class his last semester of college when his muse inspired him to make a career out of his palate.
The director of wine growing is behind our wine-of-the-week winner — the Groth, 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc at $22.
What makes this sauvignon blanc a standout is its crisp acidity coupled with its fleshy texture.
It’s lush, yet manages to be bright and lively at the same time. It has notes of melon and citrus. Budget shoppers will find the price a coup, considering the quality.
Parry said the style he’s shooting for is best described as a ripe sauvignon blanc that’s reflective of California’s sun-kissed climate.
“Oakville (where the grapes are predominantly sourced) is a warmer region with abundant sunshine, giving us wonderfully ripe fruit,” he said. “We like to show off our climate rather than trying to emulate other regions.”
What the uninitiated don’t realize, Parry said, is that there’s a wide range of styles out there — from grassy, to earthy, to bright ripe fruit.
In crafting the later, Parry said the biggest challenge is “chasing that fully ripe fruit character while maintaining the crisp natural acidity that helps make this wine so refreshing and enjoyable.”
It was the spring of 1998 when Parry first realized his calling.
“While there was no single ‘Eureka!’ moment, over the course of that wine appreciation class it just clicked that here was a career path that would work for me.”
Parry, 41, has a master’s degree in food science, with a focus on enology, from UC Davis. He also has a bachelor’s in biology, bachelor’s in microbiology and bachelor’s in Spanish from New Mexico Stare University.
The winemaker’s credits include a stint at Gundlach Bundschu, Franciscan, PlumpJack, Sawyer, Vina de Larose (Chile), Etude, and most recently he was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena.
In his many posts, Parry has kept a keen eye on sauvignon blanc production, and he said in the past decade there has been a broadening of the stylistic range.
“Winemakers have embraced their climates and are producing wines (at the higher end) that are very reflective of where they’re grown, rather than trying to conform to a singular definition of the varietal.”
The sauvignon blanc Groth crafts appeals to Parry.
“What I like best about this wine is tasting the vineyards that went into it,” he said.