Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two Great American Sauvignon Blancs to Try This Summer

Sauvignon Blanc is one of my great passions, and it really has been gaining in popularity lately thanks to the groundbreaking success of wines from New Zealand and also the evolution of the American palate, which lately is discovering the pleasures of unoaked, zesty white wines and even the subtle grassy or vegetal notes that are the stock in trade of Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon's crisp citrusy flavors really sing with salads, seafood and lighter summer dishes, and when made without oak it is one of the most refreshing white wines out there. New Zealand makes some great stuff, but American producers who are attuned to a 'less is more' philosophy make some really extraordinary Sauvignon Blanc. One of those is Dry Creek Vineyard, which has made beautiful Loire Valley inspired wines since David Stare founded the winery in the 1972.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2015 Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($16) Dry Creek Vineyard has long been a champion of a pure, grassy, varietally-correct style of Sauvignon Blanc, and that's always reflected in their entry-level Fume Blanc. This distinct bottling comes exclusively from Dry Creek Valley and is a touch fleshier, but still has verdant clover and grass aromas intensely citrusy grapefruit, passion fruit and white pepper flavors. If you're a fan of Sauvignon from New Zealand, give this great California version a try. (92 Points)

While writing a column on that topic for an industry trade magazine, I was having a tough time coming up with examples of Washington State Sauvignon Blanc that I'm really thrilled by. Naturally, withing a few weeks I stumbled over a new favorite from Cadaretta, even if it is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon (its traditional partner in Bordeaux):

Cadaretta 2014 Columbia Valley 'SBS' Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon ($23) There's not one splinter of oak at play in this wine, but the 20% Semillon in the blend brings a little extra body to the table. It's simply gorgeous, with green apple, pineapple, quince, mint, clover and grass notes that have great creaminess, breadth and length in the mouth while it still finishes with a pretty lime-laced zestiness. (94 Points)

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