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by Fred McMillin
Whither This White?
For every 100 acres of California Sauvignon Blanc in 1986, there were 193 acres of Chardonnay. Here's what's happened since then.
Sauvignon Blanc gets less respect...than it deserves.
...James Laube, California Wine
The Rest of the Story
In view of the Chardonnay explosion, what will be the fate of Sauvignon Blanc, alias Fumé Blanc? Well, as Mark Twain said, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Applied to this vine, the acreage decline has stopped. Futhermore, critic Larry Walker says the wine is "improving dramatically. Winemakers are moving away from the aggressive herbal style toward a more subtle melon-apple profile, with a light smack of oak." (Wine Enthusiast Magazine) "It is becoming sort of a poor man's (less expensive) Chardonnay, which I think works well," says Mr. Laube.
My panel found a Blanc that works VERY well. It costs $18, and outscored a dozen more expensive Chardonnays ranging from $20 to $37. Here it is.
'96 Fumé Blanc (Dry Sauvignon Blanc), Napa Valley
There's a fine, $13 new wine book by award-winning author Michael Bonadies. On page 170 of Sip by Sip we find that when compared to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc "is often more complex and food-friendly." If you have any doubts, try that '96 Grgich.
...from Sip by Sip, An Insider's Guide to Learning All About Wine, Doubleday.
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