By Joseph Baca
Veladora, Tofanelli Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc, 2006
Sauvignon Blanc (So-veen-yawn BlahN) is enjoying a spike in popularity among wine lovers, and though not yet as fashionable as, say, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, it remains an incredible value. This wine is a summer refresher with extremely aromatic citrus and melon flavors. And due to its high levels of acidity, it's one of the best varietals for pairing with a wide assortment of dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc gets especially engaging when combined with food. This luscious white wine unleashes explosive flavors and generates what wine lovers call the “seesaw” effect: You're enticed to continuously take a bite, then a drink. It's a sensuous back-and-forth that develops as the varietal interacts with the food’s textures and flavors, then cleanses the palate with its acidic and astringent characteristics.
Originally from the Loire and Bordeaux regions of France, Sauvignon Blanc is grown with incredible success in New Zealand and Chile, as well as in California's Napa Valley. Napa is renowned for award-winning wines and multimillion-dollar mansions built on sprawling vineyards. It's a region of opulence and extravagance, where the sight of a Ferrari or Rolls-Royce doesn’t get a second glance.
Orin Swift Cellars is a Napa winery. Its winemaker, Dave Phinney, earned international acclaim with his creation of The Prisoner, a Zinfandel-Cabernet blend that Wine Spectator magazine credited as being among the world’s top 20 wines.
But Phinney isn't just a skilled winemaker—he's a humanitarian who realizes that beneath Napa’s sumptuous façade lies a huge, invisible workforce of underpaid and undocumented migrant workers. The region's success in crafting stellar wines relies on these workers and the backbreaking duties they perform.
To honor these mostly Latino laborers and to enlighten consumers to their plight, Phinney released a Sauvignon Blanc called "Veladora." La Veladora is Our Lady of Guadalupe—the patron saint of Mexico whose image adorns the bottle’s label. Phinney chose the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to convey his deep respect for the Latino heritage of the farmworkers. One hundred percent of the profits from Veladora are donated to Puertas Abiertas, an association created to provide medical care and counseling to workers, without checking immigration status.
You can support an excellent cause this summer with a bottle of Veladora (order online at www.orinswift.com). When you crack it open, you'll be raising a glass in homage to the invisible migrant workforce.
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