Some wines pair well with certain foods and some wines pair well with the seasons. To me, Sauvignon Blanc goes well with summer. This year we explored several very good options to share with you. These beauties will provide you with some refreshing satisfaction as you enjoy what is left of the summer. We had one 92-pointer this spring and we will kick off our post with that impressive wine.
The 2011 Joseph Phelps “Estate Grown” Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena was this year’s overall winner. For $32 it is a very good deal considering its superior quality. It opens with a fragrant ripe Bartlett pear-like bouquet with a hint of honey. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied, slightly acidic, and viscous. The flavor profile is a tasty Bosc pear with very nicely integrated minerality. I also detected a little green apple, white pepper and vanilla. The finish fades away nicely. This wine is rather food-friendly. I would pair it with grilled halibut stuffed with Imperial crab meat.
We had six 91-pointers. The first three are priced in the $20 to $25 range. That is good news! The next three exceed $30. We start with one of the best values this year. The 2012 Matetic “EQ Coastal” Sauvignon Blanc for $20 is a steal. It hails from Casablanca, Chile and is Organic to boot! It displays a very tropical bouquet featuring papaya, mango, and a touch of lime. On the palate, it is light-bodied, slightly crisp, fresh and pleasantly acidic. I really enjoyed its tasty mild mineral-infused gentle grapefruit flavors with hints of lime. It is a perfect summer option and would nicely compliment grilled swordfish skewers.
This year we covered the Sbragia Family wines for the first time. We found the 2012 “Dry Creek Valley” Sauvignon Blanc for $22 to be really impressive. It tied for first place in our first big blind tasting. It is medium-bodied, slightly acidic and mouthwatering. We found the flavor profile to be a pleasant gooseberry with hints of minerality, melon, and white pepper. It finishes dry and refreshing. The panel suggested pairing this very nice offering with grilled swordfish or lobster risotto.
Next up is the 2010 Heritance Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley. It is light-bodied, balanced, and crisp. I enjoyed its tasty mild yellow grapefruit flavors with nicely integrated gentle minerality. I also detected hints of green apple. Its flavors lasted for an unusually long time for a Sauvignon Blanc. That said, I would pair this flavorful Sauvignon Blanc with pan seared scallops.
Always in the top tier of our results is the Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc. Her 2011 from the “Russian River Valley” is $32 and as always, is very good, This year’s version is light-bodied, very refined, elegant, and easy to drink. I really enjoyed its very tasty gentle green melon flavors with hints of grapefruit, lemon and vanilla oak. The finish is dry and drifts away nicely. The panel suggested we pair this very nice wine with Coquilles St. Jacques or halibut with capers and a lemon drizzle.
The next 91 pointer is a new one for me. The 2011 Robert Mondavi “Fume Blanc from Oakville” is medium-bodied, slightly acidic, juicy, and very flavorful. The flavor profile was a tasty mild grapefruit with nicely integrated minerality and pleasant green apple. It closes dry and its flavors linger well after the wine is gone. This Fume is made from 91% Sauvignon Blanc and 9% Semillon. It will pair well with grilled swordfish skewers and roasted veggies.
Our last 91-pointer is the 2011 Grgich Hills “Essence” Sauvignon Blanc for $48. This wine is slightly acidic, crisp and juicy. I really enjoyed its very tasty, mild grapefruit flavors with notes of nicely minerality and a touch of lime. It’s another great offering to consider with grilled swordfish with a lemon butter drizzle.
Our 90 pointers start off with two gems that are great deals. The first is the 2012 Buitenverwachting “Bayten” Sauvignon Blanc for $15. This offering is almost clear colored and was one of our top choices from our recent blind tasting. It is light-bodied, crisp and mouthwatering. The panel loved its mineral-infused green apple flavors with hints of white pepper. They suggested pairing this great value wine with grilled swordfish skewers or pan seared tuna.
A similiarily good deal is the 2012 Cono Sur “Reserva Especial” Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca, Chile. Like the Bayten, it is a steal at $15. It is medium-bodied, crisp and mouthwatering. The panel found its flavor profile to be a mild grapefruit with notes of white pepper and lime. We also detected a hint of green apple. For this wine, they recommended to go with bacon wrapped scallops or a lobster salad roll.
This year, I covered the 2011 St. Clement Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley for the first time in a long time. This offering was medium-to-full-bodied, slightly viscous and mouthwatering. I found its flavors to be a tasty lime with notes of nicely integrated minerality and Anjou pear. There was also a touch of mild grapefruit in the background. This Sauvignon Blanc is food-friendly and would pair well with Coquilles St. Jacques.
The Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc is no stranger to the top of the results. This year the 2011 from Napa Valley kept that tradition going. It is medium-bodied, slightly acidic and mouthwatering. It displays mild and slightly tart grapefruit flavors with notes of white pepper and minerality. I also detected a touch of tangerine and lime. It shows off a dry and very refreshing finish, making it perfect for oysters on the half shell or sushi.
Our last 90-pointer is the 2011 Maisonry Sauvignon Blanc from the “Hudson Vineyard” in Napa. It is light-to-medium-bodied, slightly acidic and mouthwatering. I really enjoyed its tasty yellow grapefruit flavors with notes of mild lime, gentle minerality, and subtle clementine. Those flavors do linger nicely after the wine is gone. My suggestion would be to serve this very nice Sauvignon Blanc with broiled scallops drizzled in a lemon butter sauce. Yum!
Here is a quick hit description of our Very Good 89 point recommendations.
Chateau St. Jean 2011 Sauvignon Blanc “Fume Blanc” (Sonoma County, CA) $13 (89)
Light bodied, acidic, and mouthwatering. Displays mineral-infused lime flavors with hints of green pepper and green apple. The panel suggested pairing with grilled mahi mahi or shrimp scampi.
Ferrari Carano 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Fume Blanc” (Sonoma County, CA) $15 (89)
Opens with a fragrant gooseberry bouquet with hints of grapefruit and lime. It is light-bodied, slightly acidic, juicy and mouthwatering. Flavors are a tart ruby grapefruit and lime blend with a hint of lychee and guava in the background.
Merriam Vineyards 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Danielle” (Russian River Valley, CA) $18 (89)
This almost clear-colored and light-bodied, crisp and lively. Tart yellow grapefruit flavors with hints of apricot, minerality and lime. It would pair well with linguine and clam sauce or homemade mac n’ cheese with smoked ham.
Oberon 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Napa Valley” (CA) $18 (89)
Light-to-medium-bodied, slightly acidic and crisp. Mild green apple flavors with hints Anjou pear and minerality with a kiss of lemon. A perfect companion for grilled swordfish kabobs with vegetables.
Greywacke 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Marlborough” (New Zealand) $20 (89)
Opens with a flint and gooseberry-like bouquet with notes of green pepper. It is light-bodied and acidic. The flavor profile is a mineral-infused mild grapefruit with hints of green pepper and tangerine. Pair with bacon wrapped scallops or cherrystones.
Peju 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Napa Valley” (CA) $22 (89)
This wine is light-bodied, slightly acidic and crisp. Its flavor profile is green apple with notes of nicely integrated minerality and a touch of lemon. Very food-friendly and would pair well with shrimp scampi.
Our Very Good 88 point recommendations:
Kendall Jackson 2011 Sauvignon Blanc “Vintners Reserve” (CA) $13 (88)
Sivas Sonoma 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County, CA) $14 (88)
Matetic 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Corralillo” (San Antonio, Chile) $16 (88) (Organic)
Matanzas Creek 2011 Sauvignon Blanc “Sonoma County” (CA) $20 (88)
Saint Clair 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Marlborough” (New Zealand) $20 (88)
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Finger Lakes, NY) $20 (88)
Cross Springs 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Lake Country” (CA) $20 (88)
Clark-Claudon 2011 Sauvignon Blanc “Wild Iris” (Napa Valley, CA) $28 (88)
Our 87 and 86 point recommendations:
Ken Forrester 2011 Sauvignon Blanc “Stellenbosch” (South Africa) $15 (87)
Dry Creek Vineyard 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (Dry Creek Valley, CA) $16 (87)
Saint Clair 2012 Sauvignon Blanc “Vicar’s Choice” (Marlborough, New Zealand) $18 (87)
Indaba 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (Western Cape, South Africa) $12 (86)
I hope you enjoy these fun summertime wines as much as we did. If you have any favorite Sauvignon Blanc discoveries that you came across this summer, please feel free to share them with the group. We would love to hear from you. Cheers – Ken!
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