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Wine of the week: Amici Cellars 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

A baseball player can get 500 to 600 at-bats a year. Winemakers get one window of harvest a year and maybe 40 to 50 harvests a lifetime.

These are the heartbreaking odds, according to Amici Cellars winemaker Tony Biagi.

Biagi, 43, is behind our wine-of-the-week winner - the Amici, 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc at $25. It's a striking bright, vibrant sauvignon blanc with notes of honeysuckle, citrus and a hint of jalapeño.

The rich flavors are balanced with crisp minerality and it has a zesty finish.

“Ours is a crisp, refreshing style,” Biagi said.

“The Amici sauvignon blanc wants to capture the crispness and freshness of the variety, like lemon zest and lime zest … We do get some lightly tropical notes with the warmer climate but we also want to preserve some of the variety's cut grass and hay qualities.”

Biagi said his strength is understanding that winemaking is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Great wine doesn't happen overnight,” he said. “It has to marry and come together over time.”

Biagi has been a fan of sauvignon blanc for decades.

“I've made the varietal my whole career,” he said.

“I started at Duckhorn and was able to hone my teeth there. Every step along the way in my career I've made sauvignon blanc. I really enjoy the grape.”

Biagi said what the uninitiated don't know about sauvignon blanc is that it's the best bargain on the wine list.

“Consumers should really look for a sauvignon blanc as a great companion to dinner,” he said.

“You can get a magnificent bottle of one of the best California sauvignon blancs for same price as an entry-level version of chardonnay, plus it's incredibly versatile with food.”

Biagi became intrigued by wine during the fall quarter of his freshman year at U.C. Davis in 1990.

“My family had friends who owned vineyards and hanging out with them, being outside and watching how an agricultural product could create art, I really fell in love with the business,” he said.

“There is always something new to learn: wines of the world, agriculture, science.”

Biagi graduated with a degree in fermentation science from U.C. Davis in 1995.

“I knew from early age I could not be behind a desk and I had to be outside,” Biagi said.

“I love being in the vineyards … I enjoy the challenge of the meeting between nature, science and art.”

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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