Normally I head for the New Zealand aisle to hunt down something truly iconic (and delicious!). But, instead, this past week I cruised on over to the California SB aisle and sidled up close and personal to Robert Mondavi's Napa Valley Fumé Blanc. Why deviate from the wines that the Kiwi's are famous for and that I usually love?
Well, it might be because two weeks ago I traveled through the Napa/Sonoma wine country and enjoyed one of the best Sauvignon Blancs that I have had in almost a decade - you got it... The Mondavi Napa Valley Fumé Blanc, although I think the one we tried during our trade tour tasting and dinner was the '08. (Yep, just checked the menu for that evening... 2008). It was paired perfectly with little appetizer tasting spoons that were filled with a bit of goat cheese, fresh herbs and lemon zest drizzled with citrus vinaigrette. My mouth waters at the memory! But, that's the thing about Sauvignon Blanc (a GOOD one, anyway)... They make your mouth water at the first sip. It's that bracing acidity that zings across your palate and readies it for whatever delectable morsels are to come. SB is a great food wine, it can handle the creamiest sauces, and the tartest vinaigrette, during the same meal.
During our tasting and dinner at Mondavi, I related to Inger (Inger Shiffler, Senior Wine Educator at Robert Mondavi) that I usually shy away from domestic Sauvignon Blanc due to the presence of oak, vanilla and all the rest of those warm climate, barrel fermented or aged nuances that come along with the oak. I went on to tell her that in four years at World Market I hadn't actively hand-sold a domestic Sauvignon Blanc due to my feelings about the oak - the Mondavi Fumé Blanc included... She was surprised and delighted that my mind had been changed by one sip of her beautiful wine, how could I NOT love it? Aromas of guava and lemon-lime, rich mouth-feel, zesty on the tongue and a long, silky finish. Ahhhh. Love at first sip!
Since returning to the store, I have purchased half a case for my personal cellar and sold several bottles each to three customers, I guess I'm trying to make up for lost time!
*****Be on the lookout for an '08 or the '09 if it's out, Sauvignon Blanc is always at its most refreshing in its youth, but my 2007 is still excellent! KD
91 points and an Editors' Choice from the Wine Enthusiast: "Always one of Napa's best Fumé (Sauvignon) Blancs, Mondavi's basic bottling is so good, it tastes like it has some grapes from the famed Tokalon Vineyard. It's a rich, pure wine, brimming with gooseberry, fig, green melon and white pepper flavors, accented with zesty acidity. Great food wine, and a bargain at this price." And, according to Wine Spectator: "Zingy and refreshing, offering a light-bodied, mouthwatering version of lemon-lime, pear, quince, mineral, slate and herb flavors that are focused and intense. Drink now." (Tasting Highlights, 05/09)