The Art of Illumination

The Backstory

Illumination is a wine with its roots at the Quintessa estate. Illumination was started by the Huneeus Family as a passion project in 2006 and has since become one of the most sought after Sauvignon Blancs in Napa. Illumination is beloved by sommeliers and chefs for its aromatic richness, tropical fruit intensity and minerality. To achieve this, we take the same care in crafting Illumination as we do Quintessa.

The Vineyards

When making Illumination our ultimate goal is to produce a white wine of true character.  Not unlike Quintessa, we aim to capture the best qualities of the grapes and build a wine of harmony and balance.  The foundation of this is the vineyards and grape varieties that make up Illumination.

Two plots of Sauvignon Blanc are planted on the Quintessa estate in areas with cooler temperatures, allowing the grapes to thrive and produce wines of aromatic richness. We have also partnered with growers in Southern Napa Valley and in Sonoma County.  These vineyards are located in cool climates and on hillsides to ensure depth, intensity, fruit definition and minerality in the wines. Our hillside and bench land vineyards are tucked away in some of the coldest corners of Napa and Sonoma Counties.  These extreme sites tend to be naturally low yielding, creating berries that are layered with tropical fruit, floral and fresh herb notes while maintaining balanced minerality. 

The Blend

Three grape varieties contribute to the Illumination blend.  Sauvignon Blanc provides the vivid acidity, citrus and stone fruit flavor, and mineral character.  Sauvignon Blanc Musque is an intensely perfumed selection of Sauvignon Blanc prized for its floral notes and tropical fruit aromas.  Semillon, with its appealing texture and weightier body, adds a round mouth-feel to complement the vibrant and tangy Sauvignon Blanc. 

Winemaking & Fermentation

Grapes are hand-picked and gently whole cluster pressed. Then, we ferment the juice in a variety of vessels. Each vessel provides a unique component to the final blend. French oak barrels bring a depth to the body with a hit of oak spice. Neutral French oak barrels brings roundness and texture. Acacia barrels add a complex floral spice on the nose. Egg-shared concrete fermenters (see picture) add richness to the palate while retaining fresh aromas. Stainless steel maintains the purity of the fruit.

Harvest typically takes place in August and September, and bottling is in March.  That gives us 6 months total to create a wine of true character, complexity, and personality.  We do this through the blending process. 

Between the individual vineyards, varieties, fermentation vessels, and yeast choices we work with an average of 70 lots of wine to create the final blend.

We are so thrilled to share this beautiful wine with you. For additional information about acquiring our current release of Illumination, please click here.