Bodkin Wines bills itself as America’s first producer of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Now, we at Hotei are delighted to offer this fun wine. If you love the racy flavors and aromas of Sauvignon Blanc and the acidity, low alcohol and bubbles in sparkling wine, you may wonder why this combination has eluded you for so long. When Bodkin’s Chris Christensen first encountered bubbly Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, he thought it nearly rivaled peanut butter and jelly as one of the great taste combinations; he knew that if he could not find it in the U.S., he would make it himself. Sourcing grapes from the high elevation, Sandy Bend Vineyard in Lake County, Christensen believes the combination of intense sunshine and cool nights allow Sauvignon Blanc to develop higher levels of phenolic ripeness for flavor, aroma and mouthfeel. The bubbles in “Cuvee Agincourt” (named for the decisive battle in the medieval 100 Years War) are made via second fermentation inside the bottle, as in Champagne. Bottle aging on the lees rounds out the texture and gives complexity to this lively wine. A party wine if there ever was one; bring it to your holiday get-togethers as well as spring and summer picnics.
Despite growing up in eastern Iowa in a non-drinking household, Christopher Christensen, the “winesmith and head honcho” at Bodkin Wines, caught the wine bug soon after graduating from Stanford University. But without preconceived notions about how to start and run a winery, Christensen does march to the beat of his own drummer. Guiding him has been the line “We few, we happy few,” from Shakespeare’s King Henry V, a play he loved so much that his labels depict the 15th century Battle of Agincourt and his winery is named for the type of arrow point that may have helped Henry defeat the French.
As a winery, Bodkin is no less unusual than the labels. For one thing, it’s built upon the labor of “one man, one dog, and an army of friends.” Christensen purchases most of his grapes from the Sandy Bend Vineyard in Lake County and makes his wines in space rented in Healdsburg. Odder still is the narrow focus on Sauvignon Blanc. But these Sauv Blancs are made in a variety of styles, some downright atypical if not unheard of. For example, Bodkin has released California’s first sparkling Sauvignon Blanc - a product Christensen learned to love in New Zealand. While sparkling Sauv Blanc isn’t likely to change California’s production of Methode Champenoise based on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it’s a delight nonetheless, reminding us that popping a cork needs no special occasion. Bodkin’s “The Victor’s Spoils” is Sauv Blanc in the traditional Loire style - unoaked, dry and moderate in alcohol. On the other hand, the “Musqué Clone” bottling features a clone of Sauvignon Blanc that’s planted in few California vineyards but offers unique aromatics and flavors. Finally, “The Albino” is another rule breaker: Sauvignon Blanc fermented on the skins and aged in oak like a red wine and bottled without fining or filtration. Orange-hued and bold in flavor, it alters one’s expectations for clean and correct California wine and suggests that a new generation of winemakers, like Chris Christensen of Bodkin, will be taking California wine in new directions.
Lemon-lime aromas and flavors of citrus and passion fruit surround a core of racy crispness and lively acidity. A note of toasted hazelnuts emerges on the finish.
Hand-picked Sauvignon Blanc from Lake County is fermented first in tank and then a second time in bottle.