In a different league: Grgich Hills 2014 Fumé Blanc

The wine world is awash in sauvignon blanc. The grape is ubiquitous, grown in just about every wine-producing country, from the zippy Southern Hemisphere wines of New Zealand and Chile, to the mineral-driven sauvignons of France’s Loire Valley, to the more opulent wines of California, where one sauvignon blanc is in a class by itself.

That wine is Grgich Hills's Fumé Blanc (another name for sauvignon), and the recently released 2014 vintage is spectacular. This $31 estate wine made from organically grown grapes (as are all Grgich Hills wines), is one of the most balanced and elegant sauvignons you’ll find anywhere. The 2014 vintage is the best I’ve tasted in recent years.

Make no mistake, this is a sauvignon driven by the fruit, and in the mouth there is a lot of it to behold, with notes of pear and apple, some tropical fruit, touches of orange and pink grapefruit, and hints of green apple skin and white flowers. A long, mineral-driven finish gives the wine an attractive “chewiness.” There is an opulence here, achieved in part by the concentration of the fruit itself, but also by the subtle use of oak barrels in fermentation and aging, including six months on the lees. Opulent, but not overpowering, thanks to a good measure of acidity that keeps things fresh.

Many wine drinkers think of sauvignon as little more than cheap and decent wash-down wine, and there is certainly a place for those bottles, whether from Bordeaux or Chile or other parts of California. Grgich Hills brings American sauvignon to a different level and, at $30 or so, the 2014 Fumé Blanc seems like a bargain. (Received as a press sample.)

1 comment:

  1. Edward, glad to see you enjoyed our Fume Blanc. Always enjoy reading your comments.