Saturday, April 6, 2013

Welcoming Spring With Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Fumé blanc isn't a grape variety, rather a proprietary synonym
for sauvignon blanc made in a dry, crisp style. The wines
are sometimes fermented or aged in some amount of oak.
It’s technically spring, although if you’re anywhere in the Midwest or East Coast you may beg to differ. Surely warm weather and sun will be here soon enough. I’m looking forward to the patio parties, the brighter food and, of course, the wine. And what better way to welcome in spring than by sipping some Napa Valley sauvignon blanc? Here are four such wines that shouldn’t disappoint.

All wines were received as press samples and tasted blind.

2010 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley ($20)
Aromas of lemon, margarita salt, grapefruit rind, some green melon… very expressive. Tangy, full, lots of pineapple and key lime flavors, white flowers. Very fresh acid, yet really rich. Creamy-coconut flavors accent the finish. This is such a consistently good wine that I’d recommend pretty much any vintage. There’s 6% semillon in here as well. (88 points)

2012 St. Supéry Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley ($20)
This sauvignon blanc shows lots of tropical aromas (mango, papaya, orange peel) mixed with notes of sage and a hint of green onion. Creamy tropical fruit on the palate but also lots of green grass, sage and white pepper notes. I really like the way the herbal kick and acid linger onto the finish. (87 points)

2011 Grgich Hills Fumé Blanc Dry Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley ($30)
A pretty aromatic display of guava, pineapple, lemon-lime and notes of sea shell. Plump on the palate, with lots of fresh guava and mango fruit, but the acid stays focused throughout and keeps this wine fresh. Notes of chives, grapefruit rind and sea shell add depth to the hazelnut and whipped honey flavors. Creamy yet tangy on the finish with surprising length. Very impressive. This wine comes from certified organic and biodynamic grapes to boot. (89 points)

2011 Vineyard 29 Sauvignon Blanc Cru - USA, California, Napa Valley ($54)
This wine is not kidding around with the aromatics: a deep and complex mix of key lime, lemon zest, sea salt, pineapple… it’s like the Caribbean in a glass. This wine is full-bodied and rich, but the live-wire acid keeps it zesty. I love the flavors of lime, papaya, sea salt, mixed with richer notes of apricot, golden pear and honey. Notes of oyster shell and minerals linger onto the long finish. It’s the most expensive wine in this bunch, and I rarely see sauvignon blanc come with this steep of a price tag. That said, the juice justifies the cost. This is gorgeous California sauvignon blanc that deserves some of the freshest scallops or a sweet-glazed salmon. Aged 11 months in 65% French oak (30% new), 25% concrete and 10% stainless steel. (93 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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