Magnolias and wine: The lightness of summer

5 mins read

By Celia Strong

Summer weather always changes drinking patterns. Everything gets lighter, color and weight. 

More white liquor is consumed than dark. More white and rose wine than red. 

No reason to be shocked, though. The same thing happens with food, clothing and much more. 

The chore is to find new wines to keep things interesting and tasting good. 

Sauvignon Blanc is a white variety that has become more popular recently. Partly because different styles from different countries and regions have become available. And, partly, because wine drinkers have continued to search out new wines. 

In Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc is the second most popular white grape. Partly because the wines from Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc grapes, as a group, compare well with both Old World and New World style wines. 

Which means they find more fans among more consumers. 

More than 10,000 tons of Sauvignon Blanc are crushed in Sonoma County every vintage at a cost of just under $2,000 per ton.

This variety is an old one, actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. Its name comes from French term for “wild, or savage.” It has had great success in the Loire Valley of France and New Zealand. And now Sonoma. 

Green flavors and aromas are one of the attractions of Sauvignon Blanc wines. These can range from fresh cut grass to green grapes, gooseberries to dry hay or straw. 

How much of any of these flavors depends on the micro-climate where the grapes are grown and techniques used in its wine making. 

Within Sonoma County, different sun-regions, or AVAs, produce distinct styles of wines. Alexander Valley, with its gravelly soil, shows less greenness in its wines. Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blancs are a bit fruitier. 

From the Russian River AVA the wines are more deeply fruity. Bennett Valley produces a cooler climate, lighter style of wine. Sonoma Valley wines are a bit fuller bodied. 

Outlot Winert is located on the Magnolia Peninsula near Healdsburg in Sonoma County. The Dry Creek is to its north, the Russian River to its south. 

This area of Sonoma County, since the 1800’s, has been recognized by farmers for its very rich, very deep soil, … 24 feet deep in some places. Outlot wines strive to be a tribute to this heritage. Including the magnolia on their labels. 

Our particular Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc, Outlot, is a blend of grapes from of several AVAs. It is 55 percent Dry Creek Valley grapes, 40 percent Russian River grapes and 5 percent Alexander Valley. (Legally, to claim a particular AVA as the source for a wine, 85 percent of the grapes must come from that AVA.) 

Like blending several grapes to make a more complex wine, blending one variety from several sources also makes a more multi-layered and flavored wine. Over the growing season in all three of these AVAs, warm days and cool nights let the grapes ripen with lower sugar levels and an extremely bright acidity. 

In the vineyards, canopies of leaves protect the grapes from too much direct sunlight.  Harvesting whole berry clusters, at night, enhances these characteristics as well. 

Fermentation is done in 100-percent stainless steel. With controlled temperatures. 

The Outlot Sauvignon Blanc is a pale straw color. Its aromas and flavors include lemongrass and grapefruit, hints of green peppers and capers, passion fruit, guava and kaffir lime. 

It is medium bodied with a refreshing, crisp acidity and a lingering finish. All perfect for warm weather sipping. Sitting under blooming local Magnolia trees. For $15.97. Enjoy.  

Latest from Blog


Woman’s love of Beaufort redeemed I love Beaufort, because of the people. My daughter and I…