Way back when, California Chardonnay ruled the white wine world—you almost couldn't give away wines labeled Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand, with wineries like Cloudy Bay leading the charge, changed everything. Before that, Robert Mondavi found a way around the dilemma. He borrowed the name of a French region famous for its Sauvignon Blancs, Pouilly Fume, and thus his version was reborn as Fume Blanc. Problem solved. For this week, it was a French versus California Sauvignon Blanc throwdown, with the Golden State coming out on top. Here are the winners:
2014 Regis Minet Pouilly Fume Vieilles Vignes, $29
Deep, rich, floral aromas lead off with concentrated, very ripe peach backed by lychee nut, papaya, vanilla and spice. The palate is just as rich, offering sweet grapefruit, peach, baked apple and gooseberry. The silky finish goes on and on. This wine sports a depth of flavor and fleshy texture that reflects its unique terroir.
2014 Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc, $18
The lively floral aromas of this Russian River Valley entry are a mix of peach, pear, melon and pink grapefruit colored by a bit of spice. The flavors are round, ripe and creamy, offering bold stone fruit backed by touches of mineral and basil. A very approachable, easy drinking style, it shows just a kiss of acidity on the long finish.
2015 Trione Sauvignon Blanc, $19
Here, the aromas lean toward the tropical, with mango, ruby grapefruit, pineapple, green apple and gooseberry, along with a light hit of white pepper. Crisp apple and tangy grapefruit mark the palate, playing nicely against creamy, ripe citrus. A refreshing charmer, the bright limeade finish lingers nicely.