Wine Review: St. Michael-Eppan, AA Sauvignon "Sanct Valentin" DOC 2013

St. Michael-Eppan, Alto Adige Sauvignon "Sanct Valentin" DOC Image courtesy of St. Michael-Eppan

St. Michael-Eppan, AA Sauvignon “Sanct Valentin” DOC
Image courtesy of St. Michael-Eppan

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there is just no other wine that comes to mind than St. Michael-Eppan, Alto Adige Sauvignon “Sanct Valentin” DOC 2013 ($34) 😉 So, that is the wine that we are going to review today.

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! 😉

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Sauvignon Sanct Valentin was very good: it had an expressive bouquet with tertiary aromas well under control (thanks to its being aged mostly in stainless steel) and a great, coherent mouthfeel, where its high ABV and gentle smoothness were perfectly balanced by its intense sapidity and zippy acidity.

Rating: Very Good and Recommended Very Good – $$

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

About the Grape Variety and the Appellation

Sauvignon Blanc is a white-berried grape variety originating from France.

Recent DNA analysis has identified a parent-offspring relationship between Savagnin (an old white-berried variety that is common in the Jura region of France) and Sauvignon Blanc and, there being much earlier documents mentioning Savagnin than Sauvignon Blanc, the former is believed to be the parent of the latter.

DNA results also support the thesis that, contrary to common belief, Sauvignon Blanc did not originate from the Bordeaux area, but rather from the Loire Valley in France, where documental evidence dates back to 1534 (compared to 1710 in Bordeaux).

However, it is interesting to note that, when Sauvignon Blanc was grown in the Bordeaux area, it spontaneously crossed with Cabernet Franc to create Cabernet Sauvignon.

In New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc was first planted in the 1970s and soon became the most widely grown variety in the country, especially in the Marlborough region.

(Information on the grape variety taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012 – for more information about grape varieties, check out our Grape Variety Archive)

About the Producer and the Estate

St. Michael-Eppan is a cooperative winery that was founded in 1907 by 41 grapevine growers in the Eppan (AKA, Appiano) area, in the north-east Italian region of Alto Adige, and has by now expanded to encompass 340 farmers.

Out of the more than 1,000 HA of vineyards in the Eppan area, St. Michael-Eppan manages 380 HA where both white-berried varieties (Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner and Gewurztraminer) and black-berried varieties (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Lagrein and Schiava) are grown.

The composition of the soils where St. Michael-Eppan’s vineyards are located is a mix of glacial moraine debris, limestone gravel and alluvial soils.

The Sankt Valentin vineyard, which sources the grapes for St. Michael-Eppan’s premium “Sanct Valentin” line, measures 18 HA and is located at 1,800-2,035 ft (550-620 mt) above sea level on limestone gravel soils in the Eppan Berg area.

Our Detailed Review

The wine that we are going to review today is St. Michael-Eppan, Alto Adige Sauvignon “Sanct Valentin” DOC 2013. As discussed, “Sanct Valentin” is the flagship line in St Michael-Eppan’s wine offering. The Sauvignon Sanct Valentin is available in the US where it retails at about $34.

The Sauvignon Sanct Valentin 2013 is a whopping 14.5% ABV and is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes harvested from 10 to 28 year-old vines at an elevation of about 1,970 ft (600 mt) above sea level in proximity to the town of Eppan/Appiano (in the Bolzano district). 90% of the wine is fermented in stainless steel vats and then aged for about 6 months on its lees, with the remaining 10% being fermented and aged in wood casks.

As usual, for my reviews I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher. For your own structured wine tastings, consider downloading our FsT Wine Tasting Chart!

In the glass, the wine was straw yellow and viscous.

On the nose, its bouquet was intense, complex and fine, with pleasant aromas of nettle, lime, grapefruit, herbaceous notes, boxwood, a touch of butter and mineral hints.

In the mouth, the wine was dry, with high ABV, smoothacidic and tasty. It was full-bodied and balanced, with intense and fine mouth flavors of grapefruit, lime and mineral notes. Its finish was long and its evolutionary state was ready (i.e., wonderful to enjoy now, but it might become even better and more complex if it rests two or three more years in your cellar).

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0 thoughts on “Wine Review: St. Michael-Eppan, AA Sauvignon "Sanct Valentin" DOC 2013

  1. Pingback: Full Report On Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri NYC 2015 – Part I (Northern Italy) | Flora's Table

  2. Dina

    I love Sauvignon Blanc, Stefano. This one I looked up immediately at my wine merchant, but sorry, it’s not available. So I decided to treat ourselves with your recommendation SB NZ Cloudy Bay, very much looking forward to this outstanding wine that I hadn’t heard of.:-)
    Cheers, dear friend,
    wishing you all the best,
    Dina & Klausbernd

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, dear Dina: I am sorry that you will not be able to taste the Sanct Valentin this time around, but please let me know how you like the Cloudy Bay: I *love* it and look forward to your opinion! Enjoy and be merry, you guys! 🙂
      Love,
      Stefano

  3. StefanGourmet

    Always nice to read your reviews. I tasted this wine for the first time at the cellar, in 2009. I liked it a lot, although I do think it is a bit expensive compared to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé (which are quite similar, but of course more cold climate style).

  4. Margot @ Gather and Graze

    Stefano, I’m a huge fan of Sauvignon Blancs – having lived in New Zealand for a couple of years may have played a part in that! My husband and I don’t usually go out or buy gifts etc to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I can almost guarantee we’ll be opening a bottle of vino that evening – I’d love to see if I can find this one – it sounds wonderful!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much, Margot: I am a big fan of SB’s myself! One of the things that really fascinate me is how this grape can be made into wines that have so different aromatic and taste profiles depending on where it grows.
      I absolutely love NZ SB’s, with their intense and captivating aromas of tropical fruit and zippy acidity, particularly the Marlborough ones like Cloudy Bay: I can’t get enough of those! You are so fortunate to have lived in NZ for a while: it must be a stunning country. I would very much like to visit some day.
      If you manage to get a bottle of the SB Sanct Valentin, let me know how you like it! 🙂

      1. Margot @ Gather and Graze

        Stefano, Cloudy Bay is one of my all time favourites… and so much cheaper to buy in the USA (great when we were living in Florida, but not such a great thing now! 😉 ) I’m intrigued to taste SB’s from different parts of the world too. A few days ago I picked up a bottle from the Loire Valley which will be interesting to try. Last night’s bottle (another Marlborough SB – Boatshed Bay by Goldwater) was incredibly aromatic… felt like someone had sliced a grapefruit in half and placed it under my nose! Really enjoyable! 🙂 Your tasting charts have been great by the way – making us really stop to think so much more about the wines and what we like/dislike about them.

        1. Stefano Post author

          No way, Margot! I love Cloudy Bay! I have never had Boatshed Bay instead and I will be on the lookout for it. I am so glad to hear that you are finding my tasting chart helpful! Thank you for letting me know! 🙂

  5. apuginthekitchen

    Sounds like a perfectly wonderful wine to enjoy on Valentines Day. How could it not be with that name. I am using your form and practicing it’s very helpful for me when I taste wines. This was interesting knowing more about the history of the grape and it’s origin.

  6. Stefano Post author

    Reblogged this on Clicks & Corks and commented:

    Looking for a special wine for Valentine’s Day? Here is one to consider, a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Italy’s northeast region of Alto Adige: St. Michael-Eppan, Alto Adige Sauvignon “Sanct Valentin” DOC 2013.

    Check out our full review and… Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂