Smoke & Mirrors

Robert Mondavi “invented” Fumé Blanc because he wanted to

Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc

distinguish the high-quality Sauvignon Blanc he was making in the French-style from the other California Sauvignon Blanc that was widely viewed as ordinary “run of the mill” sweet wines. Mondavi decided that changing the name wouldn’t be enough to change people’s idea of California Sauvignon Blanc so he decided to age it in oak barrels. His bold move to rename his dry-fermented barrel-aged wine Fumé Blanc quickly paid off as demand for this “new” wine grew in California and across the United States. Mondavi’s decision not to trademark the name was a stroke of brilliance on his part because more people could use the name and by doing so increase its name recognition and acceptance worldwide. The name Fumé Blanc is commonly associated with oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc made in the United States since the late1960’s. Robert Mondavi never intended to imply that Fumé Blanc was a specific style or method of making wine but only a name for his wine. There is nothing that dictates Fumé Blanc must be oak-aged. You can find Fumé Blanc that is not aged in oak and that is perfectly acceptable because under current U.S. law the terms “Sauvignon Blanc” and “Fumé Blanc” are synonymous. 

If you are curious I suggest you try Fumé Blanc from the winery

Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc

that started it all, the Robert Mondavi Winery. 2017 Fumé Blanc Napa Valley from Robert Mondavi Winery has aromas of peach, citrus and of course, smoke followed by crisp acidity and flavors of pear, citrus, and vanilla/buttery oak. 

The wine world is full of interesting stories like this and others where you may find yourself asking is it “Lemberger” or “Blaufränkisch”? Don’t even get me started with the marketing genius behind the “Syrah” or “Shiraz” campaign.LOL My advice is to ignore the marketing hype and drink what you like no matter what is printed on the label.  

California Dreaming!!!! Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010

     While we were in California I tasted plenty of good Sauvignon Blanc and it reminded me that this wine was a favorite of mine for years but had been forgotten recently. I decided to remedy this oversight by doing some research to find not just a good

Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010

Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010

Sauvignon Blanc but a very good one.  The search led me back to Healdsburg, California with the discovery of Chalk Hill Estate 2010 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  This offering was bestowed a 90 point rating by both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate.  My impressions of this wine were spicy, floral, lemons, herbaceous, bright, energetic, crisp with an interesting balance.  It can be found in P.L.C.B. stores or online at their website with the product code 46248 for $29.99.  

Thanksgiving Wine

Assortment of wine from Domaine Chandon in Yar...

Assortment of wine . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     Thanksgiving is only a week away and the menu is set but the wine list will remain fluid until the last-minute. White wines are the traditional choices because they pair wonderfully with Thanksgiving fare.  A dry Chardonnay with a light oak aging is always a sure bet but a fruity unoaked offering might be a more interesting choice.  Sauvignon Blanc is also a good pick with its lively acidity or if you want to spur some dinner table wine talk try a Gewürztraminer, White Burgundy or even a Viognier.  If your guests like a little sweeter wine try a White Zinfandel to satisfy their tastes.  Reds are hard to blend with the flavor palate of this holiday meal but if you must uncork a bottle of red I suggest trying a light bodied wine with fine tannins and the best choice for that is Pinot Noir.  We will be pouring three New York  white wines from the 3 Brothers Winery in the Finger Lakes Region, a 2010 1st Degree Medium Dry Riesling and a 2010 2nd Degree Medium Sweet Riesling along with a 2011 Stoney Lonesome Estates Grüner Veltliner. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Fogged In

Goat's milk cheese

Goat’s milk cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wine and cheese go together like no other food combination on Earth.  My absolute favorite wine and artisan cheese pairing is Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog and Sauvignon Blanc.  Cypress Grove Chevre makes Humboldt Fog from premium pasteurized goats milk in Humboldt County, California.  This goat cheese can be enjoyed even by people who do not like goat cheese because it doesn’t have a strong goat milk flavor due to the quality of the milk used.  I like to pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc.  An interesting choice would be Dourthe La Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc 2010 with its 88 point rating from The Wine Advocate.  It can be found at the Pa. L.C.B. store for $12.99 with the product code 29706.