Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2015 Rombauer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

2014 Romb_SB_f+b_v5If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you might know that every once in a while I like to parachute in and write a review of a Sauv Blanc that really floats my boat. Moreover, I like to share a wine that I find surprising or different in some fashion (and in a good way!) Well, that was the case with this one – the 2015 Rombauer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley!

It was not what I expected. Of course, as most of you are probably aware, Rombauer is known for pretty big wines and never being shy with the oak (of course, including the Chardonnay). That, and they have also not added much to the portfolio, as far as different varietals go over the years. And, why not? They’ve done well for themselves. As I joked with winemaker Richie Allen, who took over the reins several years ago, “you got the keys to the car and you didn’t crash the car!” He kept right along with what has made the winery successful and consistent since they opened in the early 80’s.

Well, Richie didn’t crash the car, but he certainly made a hard left turn with this wine! It’s the first new varietal in over 25 years and the first white wine they have done since dropping their famous Chardonnay in the early years of operation.

The wine is a nice light tone of yellow with hints of green tint in appearance. The nose has touches of grass and boxwood as well as aromas of hard candy, white stone fruit, and lemon merengue.

Newly picked '15 Sauv Blanc. Photo courtesy of Rombauer Vineyards.

Newly picked ’15 Sauv Blanc. Photo courtesy of Rombauer Vineyards.

The grapes were picked over several dates and this is apparent in the complexity of the wine. It is not a “one-note” Sauvignon Blanc. The wine demonstrates great balance. It does not “die” in the mid-palate as many Sauv Blancs can do. This is most certainly aided by the fact that 10% percent of the juice was barrel fermented in neutral French oak and then aged for 3 months before being blended back into the other 90%, which was all stainless steel. This serves to also give the wine a nice mouthfeel and some weight.

The palate has notes of lime, grapefruit, white nectarine, and green apple candy. There is some slight pineapple and pear that linger on the finish along with a hint of white pepper. There is a pleasant minerality to the whole thing and it enjoys balanced acidity that is long and crisp, as you would hope, but not too long or overpowering!

Certainly, this is an excellent food wine – very seafood and shellfish friendly (especially if those dishes involved some citrus in the preparation.) Thai food and other fresh Southeast Asian fare are a great match as well. See our delicious pairing crafted just for this wine by our Resident Chef, Julie Hoskins – raw oysters with key lime mignonette here

This is a wonderful Sauv Blanc that demonstrates both quality fruit and craftsmanship in approach. It is also exemplary where, in the right hands, Napa shows that it is an ideal place for the varietal in the New World. Well worth the $24 or so.

Learn more about Rombauer Vineyards and their Sauvignon Blanc program here

BD_picCheers,

Bryan Dias
Executive Director, Summertime in a Glass

Sauvignon Blanc Reviews

Posted on: No Comments
A beautiful cluster of Sauvignon Blanc just before the 2014 harvest at Griva Vineyard, Aroyo Seco, California.

A beautiful cluster of Sauvignon Blanc just before the 2014 harvest at Griva Vineyard, Aroyo Seco, California.

In just about two or three months, we should be seeing the debut of many of the 2015 Sauvignon Blancs from around the wine growing regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, many of us look forward to this time of year when we can get our hands and palates around the crisp, refreshing wines from last year and enjoy them in the spring and summer.

That being said, those of us who love Sauv Blanc know that it’s a great wine to be enjoyed year-round, especially with food! There is so much seasonal produce and seafood, for example, to enjoy during the winter months that go great with Sauvignon Blanc.

Check out some of our wine reviews here of many Sauv Blancs from previous vintages (such as the terrific ’13’s and 14’s) that can still be had and make for ideal winter pairings!

Cheers!
Bryan Dias, Summertime in a Glass ~ SauvBlanc.org Executive Director

Sauvignon Blanc Regional Profile – Mendocino

header_about_us

In this Sauvignon Blanc Regional Profile, Resident Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape, gives us an overview of Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc!

The vineyards of McFadden Farm.

The vineyards of McFadden Farm.

Sauvignon Blanc does well all over Mendocino County, even the cool, foggy areas like Anderson Valley AVA and Potter Valley AVA. It is hard to pinpoint a regional or even sub-regional signature style, though as it warms up, riper tropical flavors emerge and take us beyond citrus and green. One thing I can say across the board is that the wines are exquisitely balanced, refreshing, lively, and largely un-oaked, giving them a broad spectrum at the table.

Anderson Valley is a large well-known producer of sparkling wine as well as some of the country’s best Pinot Noir. Handley Cellars’ Anderson Valley Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and fruity with notes of lemon wedge, grapefruit, lemongrass, spring pea and yellow rose, reflecting it’s cooler origin. The upland Potter Valley AVA, at about 200 feet higher in elevation than the area’s other wine regions, is cooler still – getting the fog even when Anderson Valley does not – and enjoys a strong diurnal variation, giving the grapes a chance to ripen at a relaxed pace. The organically grown McFadden Sauvignon Blanc Estate is soft, crisp and fresh with notes of green apple, lemon tart, violet and spring peas. The organically grown Blue Quail by McFadden Sauvignon Blanc is sweet-tart, bright and crisp with notes of lemon, peach, kiwi, cherimoya, pineapple, sea spray, chive, and creamsicle on the finish.

Another standout region for Sauvignon Blanc is the Yorkville Highlands AVA. Temperatures here are moderate and the soils are highly porous and gravely like they are in Graves, the area that gives us great dry white Bordeaux wines such as Chateau Haut Brion Blanc. The vines are low-vigor and give concentrated fruit as a result. The Yorkville Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Randle Hills is medium-bodied and refreshing with notes of lemon drop, mango, pineapple upside down cake, ripe cherry tomato and candied violet. Their Semillon Randle Hill is a traditional orange wine with slightly chewy tannins and notes of white raisin, orange marmalade, and peach skin.

Bliss Family, on the east side of the valley in Hopland within the general Mendocino AVA, has a well-priced Sauvignon Blanc that is clean, dry and pithy with notes or ripe peach, gala apple, lemon rind, tarragon and white pepper. From the west side of the valley, the Brutocao Sauvignon Blanc Feliz Vineyard is punchy, pithy and dry with notes of starburst, guava, pineapple rind, lemon and lime zest.

~Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess

Discover more about Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc in our latest story here

Explore terrific Sauvignon Blanc pairing ideas specifically crafted for many of the wines mentioned in this profile here

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2013 Benziger Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paradiso de Maria Sonoma Mountain

In this Sauvignon Blanc review, Resident Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape, checks out the 2013 Benziger Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paradiso de Maria Sonoma Mountain – not to be confused with their North Coast Sauv Blanc!

Benziger Family Winery 

benziger_paradiso_13SBbMike Benziger and his wife Mary purchased the bowl-shaped vineyard atop an extinct volcano caldera in the late 1970’s with help from his parents Bruno and Helen. Winemaker Mike and a dozen other family members own and operate this holistic mountaintop winery, which is today one of the only Demeter-certified Biodynamic vineyards in the country. Partner Chris Benziger says, “We believe that farming naturally, with as little inputs as possible, allows the wines to express themselves in an authentic, distinctive way. In short, we think it’s good for the land and it makes the best wines.”

The 2013 Benziger Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paradiso de Maria Sonoma Mountain $35 is restrained at first, with notes of apple, pear, lemon curd, peach skin, apricot, lime leaf, lime peel and pine needle. It is full-bodied and creamy initially, getting refreshingly pithier towards the finish. Serve this with a warming dish of Chicken Saltimbocca.

~Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.

 

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2013 Vina Robles Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles California

In this Sauvignon Blanc wine review by our Resident Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape, we head down to Paso Robles for the 2013 Vina Robles Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles California!

Vina Robles

VR_Label_13_SauvBlanc_FrontOne of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles is Vina Robles. They take perfectly ripe, not over-ripe fruit, and handle it gently and minimally in the winery, allowing the real character of the vineyard and the grapes to shine through. This is a very European approach, which helps this winery to stand out from the crowd.

The 2013 Vina Robles Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles California $16 is full and mellow with notes of lemon creme fraiche, lime zest, bitter melon, pine needle, cilantro, wildflowers, hay and pecan. It is neither pungent like many of the New Zealand versions, nor is it trying to be Chardonnay. It is somewhere in between stylistically and so it could be the one to bring a non-believer into the fray.

See a terrific pairing for the 2013 Vina Robles Estate Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles California here

See our Summertime in a Glass Member Profile for Vina Robles here

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2013 Overland Wine “Kick Ranch” Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County

In this Sauvignon Blanc review, Summertime in a Glass Resident Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape, takes a look at the 2013 Overland Wine “Kick Ranch” Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County…

Overland label SB_2013-2Overland Wines of Promise

Richard Keenan spent 32 years as a trial attorney and since 2000, when he and his wife Kathy McNamara planted the Kick Ranch vineyard in Sonoma, has been a wine grape grower and more recently a vintner. One of the first Kick Ranch wines I tasted, the Carica Sauvignon Blanc, was a real standout, so when Richard offered to bring his own label, Overland, from the ranch, I was delighted.  When not growing grapes and selling wine, Richard has become active in training for triathlons. He participated in the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco earlier this year.

The bright, fruity and delicious 2013 Overland “Kick Ranch” Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County $24, of which there were only 14 barrels produced, has notes of asparagus, snap pea, parsley, chive, lemon, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon cream pie, nilla wafer, and white pepper. It is full-bodied and creamy but a bracing underlying lemony tartness brings balance and focuses the flavors.

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2013 Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford Napa Valley

Posted on: No Comments

In this Sauvignon Blanc review, Resident Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape looks at a “prince” of a Sauv Blanc – the 2013 Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford Napa Valley…

frogsleap_SBFrog’s Leap Winery

In 1982, the 1981 Frog’s Leap Winery Sauvignon Blanc was named a “Prince of Wine” by the New York Times, praised for being dry, substantial, and delicate enough to complement with food. Flash forward to 2015, and this quiet beauty is holding firm. Despite the trend towards the highly successful, if a bit less subtle New Zealand expression, Frog’s Leap has retained its original style.

The 2013 Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford Napa Valley $22 is soft and subtly flavored with notes of green apple, pear, peach, white rose, hay, dried herbs, slivered almonds, and Lemonhead candy. It is light, clean, grapey and brisk with a fleshy center, and would be delicious with a roast chicken with onion sauce and broccoli, or as an aperitif.

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2013 Overland Kick Ranch Sonoma County

Posted on: No Comments

In this Sauvignon Blanc review, Resident Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis aka grape goddess of Planet Grape, looks at a terrific small-production wine – the 2013 Overland Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County.

Overland Wines of Promise

Overland label SB_2013Richard Keenan spent 32 years as a trial attorney and since 2000, when he and his wife Kathy McNamara planted the Kick Ranch vineyard in Sonoma, has been a wine grape grower and more recently a vintner. One of the first Kick Ranch wines I tasted, the Carica Sauvignon Blanc, was a real standout, so when Richard offered to bring his own label, Overland, from the ranch, I was delighted.  When not growing grapes and selling wine, Richard has become active in training for triathlons. He participated in the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco earlier this year.

The bright, fruity and delicious 2013 Overland Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County $24, of which there were only 14 barrels produced, has notes of asparagus, snap pea, parsley, chive, lemon, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon cream pie, nilla wafer, and white pepper. It is full-bodied and creamy but a bracing underlying lemony tartness brings balance and focuses the flavors.

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.

Sauvignon Blanc Review – 2011 Darcie Kent Vineyards Rava Blackjack Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Monterey

Posted on: No Comments

This Sauvignon Blanc review by SIAG Resident Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape, features a Monterey wine by Darcie Kent Vineyards located in the Livermore Valley – 2011 Darcie Kent Vineyards Rava Blackjack Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Monterey.

Darcie Kent Vineyards

Darcie-Kent-Rava-Blackjack-SB_label_CropWith the recent acquisition of the Estate Winery and Vineyard in Livermore Valley, Darcie Kent Vineyards has their eyes on expansion into the national on-premise market. Their line of well-priced, small-lot single vineyard wines, many of them from local vineyards, are reflective both of the European influence – Darcie’s grandfather Christian Ruegsegger came from Switzerland – and of their unique terroirs.

The 2011 Darcie Kent Vineyards Rava Blackjack Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Monterey $18, is 97% Sauvignon Blanc blended with 3% Gruner Veltliner from the same vineyard. It is ripe and tropical with notes of peach, starfruit, lychee, lemon drop, mango chutney, and crushed white rose petals. It is medium-bodied (13.5% alcohol), balanced, juicy, bright and clean, and would be delicious with shrimp scampi or fish and chips.

~ Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess

CF at Lookout RidgeIt’s all about wine at planet grape®, your go-to source of wine news, wine knowledge, wine reviews and recommendations. The online home of one of the world’s top wine experts. The creation of Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess®. Extraordinary wine aficionado, amazingly informative and plenty of fun. Wine scholar, expert judge, consultant, and writer. A remarkable woman who has well deserved the highest accolades, and the most coveted award in the wine industry. Master Sommelier! Available for keynote speaking engagements, wine tastings, weddings, parties, all sorts of events. All about, or enhanced by, the joy of wine. Visit us at www.planetgrape.com.