We met Kelly Fleming for dinner one evening at Underbelly, one of Houston’s hip, fresh-ingredient restaurants in the Montrose area. Kelly was a delight to meet and both her Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc elegant and sophisticated.
Since Joe was getting a bad cold when we were at the restaurant and didn’t get to properly evaluate the wines during dinner, Kelly was gracious enough to send samples of the same wines for him to taste when he fully recovered.
With his usual culinary flair, Joe prepared mussels in a heavy cream sauce and Swiss chard to pair with the Sauvignon Blanc.
Sunlit straw in color, this crisp white wine offers aromas of lemony citrus, grapefruit, pear and Granny Smith apples. There is no hint of the signature New Zealand Cat Box, from this 100% Sauvignon Blanc made primarily from Sauvignon Musque with a drizzle of Sauvignon Blanc clone 1.
Pairing with the Swiss chard brings out a hint of toasted sesame, and the heavy cream sauce on the mussels brings out pineapple notes. Other suggested pairings include whole roasted fish, shellfish, nigiri sushi, light pastas, grilled salmon, roasted garden vegetables and Sonoma Jack cheese.
Celia Welch’s winemaker notes tell us the wine was crushed and given several hours of skin contact, prior to a gentle pressing, then fermented in French oak barrels (20% new) as well as stainless steel barrels. The wine was left sur-lie for three months and aged in barrels for a total of six months prior to bottling in April, 2010.
As only 530 cases were produced, so there is very limited wholesale distribution in Florida, Nevada, New York and Texas. Kelly Fleming Wines sell direct to restaurants and retailers in California. The 2010 vintage is now a Library wine. Library wines are occasionally made available for those visiting the winery.
The 2012 vintage Sauvignon Blanc is now available in both 750 ml full and 375 ml half bottles, and can be ordered from the winery for $36 per 750 ml and $20 for half bottle. Other Kelly Fleming wines produced include an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Cabernet Sauvignon Rose.’
The winery is a small operation at the northern end of Napa Valley, near the town of Calistoga. They offer tastings of current release wines, tours of their caves and winemaking facility by appointment. If you are interested in visiting, please call 707-942-6849 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for your visit.
The winery is limited in the number of guests they can host each day and charge a $40 tasting fee. Plan on a little over an hour for your visit. The winery is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm by appointment only.