Qualia is a Latin philosophy term used to refer to our individual experiences of the world around us – the sensations of sight, smell, touch, and taste. At Qualia Wines this begins in the vineyard, evolves at our urban winery, and ends in the glass – where we each understand our own Qualia.
~ Qualia Wines
In 2005, Nancy Kivelson and Tom Angstadt found the property, a steeply sloped and rocky estate outside of Glen Ellen. The couple, with their son Jordan, the winemaker, have been organically farming this vineyard since its planting in 1997. They aim to produce fruit that speaks of the terroir and to pair their wine with food that naturally goes together. As a sommelier, I can say that these two aspects of wine making are keys to making a high quality wine.
I had the pleasure of trying the 2009 Qualia Syrah Grenache Blend ($26) and 2011 Qualia Sauvignon Blanc ($22). The Syrah/Grenache blend is fruit forward, spicy, rich and delicious. The dark fruit complimented the slight vanilla oak flavors well and makes for a lush wine excellent to drink with food. The little bit of Zinfandel blended into the final wine also creates a balanced, well-rounded blend that enhances the fruit flavors.
The Sauvignon Blanc is unlike some other California Sauvignon Blanc wines. The entire lot was whole cluster pressed, meaning the entire grape bunches are pressed very gently to extract the juice. This method is not as common for making white wine, as it is usually fermented without skin contact. The whole cluster pressing, followed by aging in 100% neutral French Oak barrels, the left on the lees (dead yeast cells) creates an elegant Sauvignon Blanc that is complex, round and delicious. This nicely balanced wine is bursting with pineapple, lemon custard and baked apple and has that racy acidity that I love so much in a wine.
Head on over to Qualia Wines to read more about this fabulous boutique family winery and purchase some today!