Archive for the ‘Wine review sauvignon blanc’ Category

Elegant and Refined: Chateau Guibon Bordeaux Blanc


Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux

Grapes can be tricky little devils. In one bottle they can have you believing one thing — “this grape tastes like lime and grapefruit” — and in another bottle it’s anything but.

You say, “What happened to the aggressive citrus and acid?”

Well, what happened is that this grape, Sauvignon Blanc, changes style as often as my daughter changes her clothes. Sauv Blanc can be bold and aggressive, like a young career woman on the rise, or refined and sophisticated, like one of those lucky women who look cool and elegant no matter the occasion.

You’ve probably guessed that my two players here are New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc — that’s the aggressive one — and the white wine of the France’s Bordeaux region. The wine that I loved recently, and launched me into this barely-plausible analogy, is Chateau Guibon Bordeaux Blanc 2010.

Chateau Guibon is part of the Andre Lurton wine family, and it’s a very extended family. The Lurton’s have been in Bordeaux since Lords and Ladies rode through it on horseback, and they now own and manage six or eight Chateau in Bordeaux. Not being content to stay close to home, various family members have launched wineries in 10 other countries, including France, Spain, Australia, Argentina and Chile.

So back to the French Lurton. Chateau Guibon comes from the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation, a sub-region of Bordeaux. In this area “between two seas” (the Garonne and Dordogne rivers), white wines can be made from some or all of these grapes: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. Chateau Guibon uses all three. Semillon is the predominant variety, and the blend is beautifully balanced.

I liked this wine for its elegance and bright fruit palate. The entry is soft — not like the aggressive attack of New Zealand Sauv Blanc — and some delicate but lush pear and melon linger on the palate. The finish is still crisp (thanks to the Sauv Blanc) but softened by the Semillon in the blend.

This is a classically styled blend that would be very appealing to fans of both the New World and Old World style. In fact, I think it beats the heck out of almost every California Sauv Blanc I’ve tasted. And it’s pretty cheap ($13). Yay for that! Take it out for a spin next time you’re tired of your Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, and Cheers!

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Un-American Sauvignon Blanc: Signaterra Shone Farm 2010

aerialWine drinkers aren’t usually on the fence about Sauvignon Blanc; some drink it regularly, probably as their first choice for an aperitif wine, while others wouldn’t order it if it was the only white on the glass pour list.

The style that die-hard Sauv Blanc drinkers enjoy is crisp, clean, and snappy. They usually love Sauv Blanc from New Zealand, which has gone from zero to hero in the wine world by exporting a style that screams pink grapefruit and lime. Many American winos have fallen in love with that style, which until recently was conspicuously absent in domestic Sauv Blancs.

Enter Benziger Signaterra Shone Farm Sauvignon Blanc 2010. The appellation on the bottle is Russian River, which you all probably know is one of Calfornia’s cooler growing regions. But it’s known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; Sauv Blanc is more common in the Napa Valley.

Shone Farm Vineyard is in a corner of the Russian River where soils are relatively low pH and get good sun exposure. The winemaker credits these factors with preserving good natural acidity while ripening the grapes fully. The result is….a lot more like Europe than California.

From the first sniff, the Benziger’s Shone Farm Sauvignon Blanc screamed, “flinty and minerl-ly,” just like a host of European whites. I got pear and green apple aromas along with the citrus. The first sip made my mouth pucker with acid and lime-y flavors, but it needed time to open up. This was one of those whites that need to be closer to room temperature to show all their stuff. I started to taste pineapple and feel a creamy texture — but still underscored by the crisp acid and minerals.

This wine was carefully made to create complex flavors while preserving freshness and minerality. It wouldn’t have worked, though, without the fruit from this vineyard. These grapes make possible the kind of fresh, mouth-watering, cool-climate white wine that  Americans are turning to after drinking too much heavy California Chardonnay. If that’s what you’re after, Signaterra Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice. Cheers!




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The Wine Lady Rants about Cheap Sweet Wine.

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Kick-Ass White Wines

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Road Trip Warriors Discover Colorado Wine

plum creek vines

Colorado's Grand Mesa rises behind Plum Creek's vineyards

OK, we’ve just done four days and 2300 miles. We traversed eight states, experienced temperatures ranging from 37 to 102 degrees, and climbed from 1,200 feet above see level, to 10000, and back down 1800 feet. Did I say, in just four days?

I’ve gotta tell you, there are lots of amazing sights to see in this country. And lots of amazing stuff that’ll pop up and delight you if you keep your eyes and your mind open as you travel.

The welcome surprise we tripped over was the Colorado wine industry. Now I’m not a total, “American wines begin and end with Napa Valley” snob. I’ve written lots of good things about Washington State, New Mexico, and even Arizona. But I admit to being oblivious about Colorado wines until we started chatting with a very informative and helpful wine guy at a shop called Little Raven Vineyards in Denver. When we asked about the Colorado-made wines on his shelves, he recommended his favorites and pointed us towards the Grand Valley region in the southwest corner of the state. The next day we pulled off the interstate to investigate (always a good thing to do) and came across Plum Creek Cellars in Palisades, Colorado. And we were knocked out. Read the rest of this entry »

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Road Trip Wine!!

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Like Taking a Grapefruit in the Face

cagney grapefruit4corksRATING – 4 corks out of 5 No one ever thought James Cagney would smash a grapefruit in his girlfriend’s face, and I didn’t think I’d be drinking a grapefruit from my wine glass. But that’s what it felt like when I drank Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008. The extreme flavors made it easy to write a review of a wine that’s so…memorable.

New Zealand has become known for a style of Sauvignon Blanc that smells and tastes like pink grapefruit and lime. It’s the cool climate of these very southerly islands that creates all that crisp acid in the grapes. Sometimes all that acid seems to turn your mouth inside out — not that there’s anything wrong with that! About half the world’s white wine drinkers go for that style, while the others (including me) like some oak and richness. Oh well — “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Crisp and Clean: Los Vascos Sauv Blanc Review

los vascos3CorksRATING – 3 corks out of 5 There are plenty of wine drinkers out there who’ve given up on the heavy, oaky California Chardonnay style. Rather than gnaw on a piece of lumber, they’re happily sipping unoaked wines just like Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley 2009. This Chilean white got rave reviews for its crisp, clean, but juicy style.

I’ve gotten to expect this style from South American Sauvignon Blancs. Brands such as Montes and Veramonte have been producing Sauv Blancs that are pretty darn close to the legendary Southern Hemisphere Sauv Blanc producer, New Zealand. The Los Vascos has a similarly aromatic nose, with lots of lime, pink grapefruit and just a hint of minerals. There’s a burst of fruit on the front of the palate, with flavors of kiwi, lime, and maybe a bit of pear.

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