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Sauvignon Blanc/Fumé Blanc

91 Chateau St. Jean 2002 La Petite Etoile Russian River Valley, Fumé Blanc [Sauvignon Blanc]:
St. Jean's winemaker likes to describe this Sauvignon Blanc from La Petite Etoile (the little star) vineyard as having a distinctive “candied green tea” aroma. It's emphatic and it's the best description I can imagine for this marvelous Sauvignon Blanc (actually, I have my doubts that this is Sauvignon Blanc). It also has some green melon character, medium body and a crisp finish. $20

91 St. Supery 2003, Napa Valley, VIRTU White Wine:
When you take a Sauvignon Blanc and blend it with a barrel fermented Semillion (38%), you end up with a dry, soft, silky white wine with more edge than a Chardonnay, and less punch than a stainless steel fermented Sauvignon Blanc. St. Exupery's VIRTU is just such a wine. Lots of mineral character, big body and velvety texture; dry as a bone and wonderfully complex. $

85 Trinchero 2003, California Family Selection, Sauvignon Blanc:
90% Santa Barbara County and 10% Napa. Dry, honeydew melon rind character in both the nose and mouth. Light, fresh. No complaints here. $9
Older Sauvignon Blanc Wine Tastings Entries:
Feb-Mar 2001

88 Quail Ridge 1999, Rutherford Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc
Classy, low key, well-balanced, with an aroma of honeydew melon and faint citrus flowers. On the palate it has some weight, good acidity and a distinct mineral quality that carries the finish.

90 Stefan Daniels 1999 Terre Vermeille Vineyard, Lake County Monte Mar, Sauvignon Blanc
Excellent varietal character with balance and finesse. Round, restrained yet flavorful, showing stone and floral notes, and a mild, dry herbaceous note that declares its varietal. This is a winery to watch.

89 Chateau Ste. Michelle 1999, Columbia Valley, Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc
For those of you who want a little oak in your Sauvignon Blanc, here’s a fine example of the traditional blending of Sauvignon Blanc (75%) and Semillon (25%), which displays dry honeydew melon and mineral character, just the barest hint of toasty oak and dried marjoram, and citrusy fruit in the finish. ,

88 Carmenet 1999, Edna Valley, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 90%, Semillon 10%
The tart acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and flavors of melon and peach, coupled with the vanilla tones more commonly associated with Chardonnay. A good compromise at a table of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc fans.

88 Buena Vista 1999, California, Sauvignon Blanc
One of the new breed of California Sauvignon Blancs – tart melon rind fruit, with undercurrents of dried mint and sage, and a clean finish. Crisp and appealing. Excellent palate cleanser for greasy foods, and a good match with seafood.

89 Meridian Vineyards 1999, California, Sauvignon Blanc
A fine Sauvignon Blanc at an inviting price. The Meridian Sauvignon Blanc, blended with 18% Chardonnay, has excellent varietal character with all the edges smoothed out. It has a flowery nose, silky texture, honeydew fruit, a hint of dried herbs on the palate, very subtle oak tones and vibrant acidity.

Dec-Jan 2001

96 Bernardus 1999, Monterey County, Sauvignon Blanc
A stunning Sauvignon Blanc – a bright gooseberry and lime nose, mineral, lime, subtle hers and the barest hint of oak on the palate. Crisp, dry and long. Impressive.

92 Dry Creek Vineyard 1999, Sonoma County, Fumé Blanc Dry Sauvignon Blanc
Super fruity gooseberry and lime with a complex herb and asparagus background, creamy mouthfeel with an edge of crisp acidity and a long complex fruit and dried herb finish. Great with shellfish or spicy foods.

89 Kenwood 1999, Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc
Medium-bodied, aromatic yet not very fruity–the nose and flavors are floral, with nuances of nuts and spice, and the finish is long and crisp. Excellent chicken and fish wine.

89 Concha y Toro 1999, Casablanca Valley, Terrunyo, Sauvignon Blanc
Concha y Toro has been making superior Sauvignon Blancs for at least 25 years. This premium Sauvignon Blanc comes at a price, but it’s a beautifully balanced wine, showing excellent varietal definition with muted honeydew fruit, crisp acidity and marjoram notes to give it some complexity.

88 Buttonwood 1999, Santa Ynez Valley, Sauvignon Blanc
A medium-bodied, dry, crisp, grassy style of Sauvignon Blanc where the complexity comes from all from the grape. This one has 13% Semillon added for extra roundness. Nice seafood wine.

88 Chateau St. Jean 1999, Sonoma County, Fumé Blanc
Smoky nose with melon and citrus fruit; soft and creamy on the mid-palate, with a crisp acid edge leading to a minerally finish. Good food wine.

88 Geyser Peak 1999, Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc
Medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry and pink grapefruit character, crisp acidity, and an herbal overlay in the finish.

88 St. Clement 1999, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc
Grassy, crisp acidity, light lime and toasted almond, tight and tart, yet round on the palate with a long finish. A classic shellfish wine.

Dec-Jan 2001

87 Grgich Hills 1998, Napa Valley, Fumé Blanc
Fresh and flowery, quite dry on the palate, with white peach character and subtle dried herb character that gives it varietal definition, and a citrusy finish.

87 Callaway Coastal 1999, California, Sauvignon Blanc
If you like the New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll love this delightful Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry and lime fruit, silky smooth texture, and the barest hint of spice in the background. Perfect match for a wide variety of foods, from poultry and fish, to Asian cuisine.

87 Errazuriz 1999 La Escultura Estate Casablanca Valley, Chile, Sauvignon Blanc
Dry grapefruit and tart gooseberry fruit with a light herbal background an excellent length. A great fish wine, and a great bargain.

Oct-Nov 2000

92 Farella-Park Vineyards 1997, Napa Valley, estate bottled Sauvignon Blanc
I would never think this was a Sauvignon Blanc; it tastes more like Roussane with its floral, apricot and nutty notes. Crisp and dry with good length and complexity, it’s a wine with a lot of character and a good match for a wide range of cuisines from Asian to French.

92 Comte LaFond 1998, Sancerre
High pitched floral and melon aromas, crisp, lean and dry on the palate with tart minerally-flinty flavors that carry the finish. A great example of the type.

92 Chateau Souverain 1999, Alexander Valley, Sauvignon Blanc
Bright, juicy gooseberry, honeydew and lemon aromas and flavors, with just enough grass (far in the background) to tell you it’s Sauvignon Blanc. Barrel fermentation and sur lie aging make the texture creamier than any Sauvignon Blanc I’ve had in recent memory, yet oak flavors are subordinate to the stellar fruit. Dry, crisp and very well suited to just about any savory dish you care to put on the table.

90 La Poussie [Blanc] 1998, Sancerre
A yummy Sauvignon Blanc from Baron Patrick de Ladoucette, offering high peach and floral aromas, and lean, tart, citrusy fruit on the palate.

88 Dry Creek Vineyard 1998, Dry Creek Valley, Fume Blanc Reserve
A stylistic Sauvignon Blanc with a subtle round nose, projecting fig and honeydew scents, while the palate is creamy and broad with light oak spice and citrus character. Maintains the high level of quality we’ve come to expect of Dry Creek.

86 Rodney Strong 1999, Northern Sonoma, Charlotte’s Home, Sauvignon Blanc
A medium-bodied wine with citrus and melon flavors, and a bit of mineral notes, the herbal characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc completely subdued.

86 R.H. Phillips 1999, Dunnigan Hills, Sauvignon Blanc
Bright tart gooseberry fruit, crisp and refreshing. Reminiscent of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. A super bargain at just $7.

86 Michel Lynch 1998, Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc
A nice, clean, fruity, minerally wine with the barest hint of herbal character to green melon fruit, dry and tart. Easy to pair with fish or pasta, and an especially great quaff for shellfish (drizzling lemon on the shellfish makes this a rounder, fruitier wine). A good deal.

85 Chateau Ste. Michelle 1998 Horse Heaven Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Sauvignon Blanc
Lemon-lime aroma, tart, dry and citrusy on the palate.

Aug-Sept 2000

87 Callaway Vineyard & Winery 1998, Temecula, Sauvignon Blanc
Bright juicy melon and dry grass aromas and flavors, medium body, and a complex fruity finish. Best with shellfish, but it will pair with just about anything.

87 Robert Mondavi 1998, Napa Valley, unfiltered Fume Blanc
A good value from vintage to vintage, the ‘98 is smoky and herbal with light neutral citrusy fruit, lean on the mid-palate and minerally on the finish. More austere than previous vintages, it still possesses a fine sense of varietal character.

June-July 2000

92 Boeger 1998, El Dorado, Sauvignon Blanc
This is winemaking brought to a high art. Ripe honeydew melon and citrus fruit with floral overtones, perfectly balanced and very elegant. Great aperitif or try with pork chops or fish.

92 Viña Tarapaca 1999 La Isla Vineyard Maipo Valley, Chile, Sauvignon Blanc
A gorgeous nose of peach and gooseberry is followed by a silky palate with white peach and mineral flavors and a long finish. Bright, crisp, inviting as an aperitif and perfectly suited to a wide range of dishes from veal to risotto to fish.

91 Beringer Vineyards 1998, California Founders’ Estate, Sauvignon Blanc
An outstanding Sauvignon Blanc with velvety texture and complex mineral overtones. The fruit is tending toward melon with a touch of papaya. Very dry and well balanced.

90 Viña Tarapaca 1999 Maipo Valley, Chile, Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is the best value on the market these days, and this is one of the best regardless of price. Bright citrus and dried floral aromas that follow through to the silky palate and crisp finish. Perfect as an aperitif or with high acid foods like broiled shrimp drizzled with lemon butter sauce. VALUE WHITE WINE OF THE MONTH

90 Geyser Peak 1999, Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand has made this style of Sauvignon popular. Now Geyser Peak winery brings it to California. It has crisp gooseberry and grapefruit character, a thin veil of dried herbal flavors, and crisp acidity. A wine well-suited as an aperitif or a fish wine, it would also pair successfully with veal, stroganoff or pasta primavera. Super value

89 Chateau St. Jean 1998 La Petite Etoile Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Fumé Blanc
La Petite Etoile is one of the better Sauvignon Blancs made in the Fume style–it’s a full-bodied wine with peach and papaya aromas, smoky melon on the palate, and a long finish. It would be fun to try this with prosciutto wrapped melon.

89 Carmenet 1998, Edna Valley, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 68%, Semillon 32%
This is a marvelous blend of 68% Sauvignon Blanc and 32% Semillon. Melon rind and light tarragon flavors combine with tart acidity to create a wine that has excellent length, and the structure to age, as well as pair successfully with seafood laced with lemon. By itself it is a decent aperitif. N/A

88 Matanzas Creek 1998, California, Sauvignon Blanc
Crisp, grassy, citrus and melon with herbal undertones.

88 Canyon Road 1999, California, Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is what wine should be all about–affordable, good tasting, showing fruit and an ineffable complexity. Let’s face it, the cache is often the result of price: If it’s expensive it must be good. But Sauvignon Blanc is naturally complex and for now, at least, comparatively inexpensive. Here’s a good example of a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with bright honeydew and gooseberry fruit coupled with mineral complexity. A first rate bargain.

85 Dry Creek Vineyards 1998, Dry Creek Valley, Fumé Blanc - DCV3
Creamy texture, wonderful gooseberry fruit, but most of our panelists felt it was too grassy. ,

83 Rivefort de France 1998, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France, Sauvignon Blanc
In an odd turn of events, Rivefort’s latest Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc releases seem reversed. That is, the Sauvignon Blanc is more characteristically Chardonnay and vice versa. This Sauvignon Blanc has rather neutral fruit with the mouthfeel and weight of Chardonnay and a distinct flinty, minerally flavor. A wine for shellfish if there ever was one.

70 Vichon Mediterranean 1998, Vin de Pays d’Oc France, Sauvignon Blanc
Thin, tart, citrusy, sour. 1998 was obviously not a great year for the area.

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