It's time to break out the Sauvignon Blanc

June 11, 2012

Hope all is well in sunny Lewes, pres de le vignoble!  Here’s the Sauvignon Blanc I’ve been promising, just in time for summer. Many are easily findable in our neighborhood and all should be able to be brought in, in short order, by your friendly neighborhood wine store. Please keep in mind that my price recommendations go hand in hand with the values I assign. If there are surcharges for special orders, so be it. We all gotta eat!

Let’s start with a $14 Cali wine, 2010 Mara Sauvignon Blanc, a blend of fruit from Dry Creek, Alexander, Russian River and Knights calleys, fermented in stainless steel to maintain its freshness. The profile is gooseberry, grapefruit and peach riding plenty of acidity and no oak.  Perfect for an aperitif and Asian or island-spiced entrees.

Snooth has added a nice feature where the readers write to review wine. I enjoy this effort because it illuminates how widely the net must be cast to catch folks' interests. Here are a few ideas I gleaned and sampled. Reminds me some folks have stopped writing requests. I enjoy the challenge, so feel free to email or write me with your questions.

Cali producer Joel Gott SB, 2011: Lemon and lime on the nose. On the palate, lemon zest and lime opening to honey notes; strong, tangy finish.

Clifford Bay SB, 2010:  Aromas of guava, grapefruit and hints of wet grass.  Tropical flavors, crisp minerality; mid-palate flavors of tropical and citrus fruits are counterbalanced by mouthwatering acidity.

Rutherford Hill Napa Valley 2010 priced at $18 is worth 89 points.  Shows peach and mineral notes with herbs and floral notes. Plenty of refreshing acid zest. On the palate, concentrated peach flavors prevail. A scant hint of tannin combines with pineapple and green plum in the finish, which is long, clean with a clever balance between the fruit and cleansing acidity.

Allow me to repeat my recommendation for Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2010; 90 points, $25.  Sancerre may be the standard that all SB tries to emulate, and Jolivet gets it right most of the time. The 2010 shows an interesting, diverse and difficult-to-separate nose. My read is floral notes, unripe peach, some  tropical and citrus fruit elements with mineral undertones. Well balanced on the palate with solid acidity that repeats the nose. The finish is stony, with good acid, which manifests as lemon rind and an earthy nuance.

This six-pack  was offered at $90. Worth looking into - three, 90-point QPR SBs  from three separate regions. A great way to learn how different “terroirs” contribute to wine. This particular group included 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (WS 88) with tangy key lime pie, honeydew, passion fruit and green tea notes; great juicy finish; 2011 La Foret des Dames Sancerre, 89 points McD, minerality on the nose. gooseberry and lime with some melon on the palate; clean, crisp finish. Finally, 2010 Lail Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc,

89 points.  The nose is redolent of ruby grapefruit and cool minerality. On the palate passion fruit, citrus, pear and mango enhance this rich, creamy, complex offering. A long, rich finish with the fruit balanced by proper acidity, Lail is on top of Napa’s pile of improving SB producers.

Closing out this week’s column is a  wonderful Chablis I examined last week. This producer is located in the midst of a host of high-profile Grand Cru vineyards. Somehow it has avoided reviewers' accolades to the point its premier cru production is priced under $40 for prudent shoppers. Named Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Montee de Tonnerre, the 2010 was rated 91-94 points by Meadows, writing in Burghound.  I have found his palate on Burgundies to be incisive and in league with my own. "A classic Chablis nose that is ultra-fresh, pure and elegant with the hallmark floral and stone notes of a fine Montée de Tonnerre that complements well the rich, dense and impressively well-detailed flavors that culminate in a mineral-inflected and driving finish. A wine of harmony and balance that should age well,” says Meadows. Amen says McD, and he writes a nice hand also. Can be found under $35 and will age well for at least 10 years.

Happy Birthday Maggie!!

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