Tooth & Nail The Fragrant Snare 2020
Bright, with fresh acidity carrying orange zest, white flower, young pineapple with hints of melon and stone fruit. There is a nice weight to the mid body with flavors of citrus and tropical fruits intertwining throughout the length of the wine. All three varietals harmonize in sync and lead into a clean and refreshing finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The usually solo star Chardonnay gets an intriguing boost from 11% Viognier and 3% Albarino in this bottling, which offer light aromas of peach, lemon and white flower on the nose. The palate is tense in structure, showing peach and pineapple flavors that are cut by sea salt and a persistent acidity. Editors’ Choice.
Tooth & Nail Wine Company was founded by Rob Murray, an upstart grower who bootstrapped his winery from the trenches of the vineyard. The challenges imposed by nature were numerous, but he was determined to gain the upper hand. To this day, Tooth & Nail remains rooted in this core aspiration.
The Tooth & Nail winery and vineyard resides in the Willow Creek District AVA of Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast. Willow Creek is a small district in the path of cool marine air that flows through the Templeton Gap, a notch in the coastal mountains. The soils at the Tooth & Nail vineyard are composed of mixed limestone and clay. Tooth & Nail also sources grapes from other Paso Robles vineyards that are under their viticultural control—enabling us to grow the fruit to their exacting specifications and to build natural complexity into their wines.
A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.
Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Central Coast wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.