The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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82 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 Master of Musqué: MICHAEL GRIVA, GRIVA VINEYARD Michael Griva's family has been farming the same site in Salinas Valley since 1905. His Griva Vineyard, first planted to grapes in 1998, straddles the Arroyo Seco River, just south of Zabala Vineyards, in the heart of the appellation. The soil is Arroyo Seco loam, consisting of more sand, gravel and rocks compared to the rest of the AVA, especially in the blocks along the river. Seventy-five percent of Griva Vineyard is planted to seven clones of Chardonnay, although Griva has also made his mark with Sauvignon Musqué, which thrives in the Region I climate and river rock soils of Arroyo Seco. Sauvignon Musqué (also identified as FPS 27) is a variant of Sauvignon Blanc originating in Bordeaux and brought to California in the early 1960s under the moniker "Savagnin musqué." In his original Ventana block located just west of Griva Vineyard, winegrower Doug Meador isolated the clone in field trials during the 1970s, identifying its knack for producing flowery, tropical spiced qualities rather than the excess vegetal character more typical of Monterey-grown Sauvignon Blanc at the time. Says Griva, "Sauvignon Musqué is one of the things that make Arroyo Seco special. Recently we had a chance to attend a Sauvignon Blanc event put on by Summertime In a Glass in Livermore. There were numerous great Sauvignon Blancs shown there, but the ones made from Sauvignon Musqué had a different shine to the varietal. I was amazed by the number of growers and winemakers who gravitated to our Musqué bottlings. This only reinforced my belief in not just the grape, but also its suitability to Arroyo Seco." Walking through Griva Vineyards this past August, just a few weeks before the 2015 harvest, we tasted through Sauvignon Musqué blocks showing a promiscu - ous range of sensations right off the vine—especially kiwi, grapefruit, pear and melon. "Most growers in Arroyo Seco focus on Sauvignon Musqué," says Griva, "because it needs fewer degree days to ripen, and it handles our severely limiting factors, like wind and sandy/gravelly soil, a little better." J. Lohr produces a "Flume Crossing" Sauvignon Blanc—in reference to a narrow river rock overpass connecting one side of Griva Vineyard to the other over the Arroyo Seco River—containing Griva-grown Sauvignon Musqué. This light, airy white wine bristles like a riled-up cat with prickly natural acidity, underlining extravagant fruit perfumes. Other artisanal wineries sourcing from Griva Vineyards include Bernardus, Folktale, Harrington, Luli, Morgan, Martin Ranch, and Mercy. Adds Mercy's Mike Kohne, "The reason why we focus on Arroyo Seco growers like Griva is because there are few places in California where we can get such consistent balance, enabling us to make a creamy, rich, textural styles of white wines with great acidity and minerals." Michael Griva in the dry Arroyo Seco River bed that divides his Griva Vineyard plantings. Sauvignon Musqué, a variant of Sauvignon Blanc, grows in Arroyo Seco's Griva Vineyard.

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