Posts Tagged ‘Sauvignon Blanc’

Dangerous wine reivews

It’s always dangerous when someone contacts you out of the blue and asks you to review their wine. It’s great if you love it, but what if you don’t? Is it better to say nothing, or to give them your opinion? Always a quandary…

Recently, I was sent some wines by Gallegos, a new winery created by a family that has been growing grapes in Napa since 1950. Interesting to be in on this, as I am headquartered on the East Coast and the Gallegos wines are now available only at the winery and at a few locations in Napa.

First impression? To me, it seems like the winery is at a fork in the road. They could either go with a New World fruity style, or they could retrench on the fruit and go classic Old World. The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Pinot Noir I tasted were neither one nor the other.

I’m not a farmer, but the wines seem clean, like they were made with good fruit – as advertised. According to the information I read, some of the fruit is from Gallegos-farmed land, and some is sourced from the Gallegos’ winery clients: the pinot noir, for example came from the Santa Lucia Highlands. (I wonder why they decided to do this instead of using their own fruit?)

Specifically, the Sauvignon Blanc is more minerally than classically herbal, with big fruit underlying the flavors, almost tropical. A slight chalkiness in the lightly citric finish suggests northern chardonnay more than sauvignon blanc to me. The Pinot Noir is full of big, dark red fruit on the aroma and palate, with addition of some smokiness too.

There’s plenty of fruit expression here, but what is lacking is definition. Both wines would benefit from a decision about their underlying styles. It will be interesting to see what direction Gallegos takes in their future vintages.20131102_093532

3 Robust American Sauvignon Blancs

3 Robust US Sauvingon BlancsThe other night while having people over for drinks, we opened three very good sauvignon blanc wines made in USA. Two from California, and one from Massachusetts (yes, MA!). We like them all. The wines were all somewhat different, and quite vigorous in nature – though one was much older than we realized at first.
Beginning with the youngest, the 2009 Turtle Creek Sauvignon Blanc ($17) landed on the smoky side, with some nice acidity along with its green grass and herbal elements. A longish finish, too.
2008 Flora Springs Soliloquy Vineyard in Oakville ($18-20) showed classic aromas at first, that dissipated after a while, leaving us with a mild, crystalline tart-sweetness in flavor. It was a bit more neutral in flavor than the others – which was appreciated by many of the tasters. A longish finish, with a bit of umami too.
Somehow, I had put this bottle of 2006 Folie à Deux Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc away for a rainy day, and only rediscovered it this week. It was an amazingly vigorous wine; no one would have guessed its age. Strong, grassy herbs dominated its aroma, with more green herbs in the flavor. A tinge of cocoa rounded out the end-palate and finish.

Six Chilean Sauvignon Blancs

We’ve been buying good, moderately priced Sauvignon Blancs from Chile for the past few years, so I was happy to try half a dozen more from all over the country, when I got the chance. All six are vintage 2008, which means they’ve been on the market for several months. They’ve lost that ultra-new quality and are ready to drink. The first three wines are lighter, while the last three are more complex, better with food.

Bio Bio Valley is not only a great name but a region with a lot of buzz, and its Gracia de Chile Reserva 2008 Sauvignon Blanc “Luminoso” opened gracefully into a medium light wine with gooseberry notes, minerality and plenty of acid in its finish.

Francois Lurton’s Hacienda Araucano 2008 Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Valle Central, and its emphasis is on fruit, with a touch of minerality and underlying notes of what some call “cat’s pee” – not necessarily a negative in this wine.

Also from the Central Valley is Xplorador 2008 Sauvignon Blanc produced by Concha Y Toro. This wine is crisp, crisp, crisp, with citric accents.

Santa Carolina 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from the Valle del Rapel is nicely balanced, and very pleasant to drink with a medium-light tropical fruit quality enduring through aromas, body and finish.

Casas del Bosque 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva comes from the Casablanca Valley. It’s very nicely balanced, with light touches of lemony acidity and plenty of the meadow-herb qualities I particularly enjoy.

The Leyda Valley’s Luise Felipe Edwards “Family Selection” 2008 Sauvignon Blanc appealed to everyone, and went on to be enjoyed with dinner, balancing tropical fruit and herbs very satisfyingly as it opened up. At the end of the evening, this bottle had the least left in it.

Firestone reminds me of my first ever…

…Santa Barbara County Sauvignon Blanc — tasted 20 years ago and never forgotten – with its heady aromas of sweet grass meadows and herbs, its balanced body and crispness. I’ve sipped it for the past few evenings with simple and complex salads, and it holds up beautifully paired with a variety of flavors. Super-easy too, as it’s a screwcap. Firestone Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley 2008 Sauvignon Blanc