If you fancy a change from the overtly zesty/grassy style of Sauvignon Blanc so prevalent these days, you will love this 2010 Napa Valley Fumé Blanc from Robert Mondavi Winery. I had almost forgotten how delicious a wine it is until I enjoyed it again last week while visiting the Napa Valley for vacation.
Expressive nose of ripe citrus and tropical fruit, with notes of lemon verbena, spice and a delicate floral note. Nicely crisp and refreshing on the palate but not too zesty. The addition of some Semillon grapes in the blend adds a welcome waxy-creamy texture and dimension to the wine. Plenty of vibrant fruity flavors are balanced by a subtle custard-like creaminess. Good persistence of flavor and a moderately long length. Easy drinking, but not in any way dull or boring, this is a wine that is both a crowd-pleaser and interesting enough for the geekier types.
At the table: This 2010 Fumé Blanc is a very versatile wine at the table. Soft and easy drinking enough to sip and enjoy on its own as an apéritif on a sunny winter afternoon. It will also fit perfectly at the table with a variety of fish, poultry and vegetable dishes such as tarragon roast chicken, fried shrimp with a touch of cayenne pepper, a salad of roasted golden beets or a simple vegetable stir-fry.
About Robert Mondavi, Napa Valley and the Fume Blanc style.
Robert Mondavi has to be one of Napa Valley's most important and influential wine figures. Sadly, he passed away in 2008, at the age of 94. The Robert Mondavi winery is located on Highway 29 in the heart of Oakville in the Napa Valley. Mondavi is said to have created the 'Fumé' style of Sauvignon Blanc. The Fumé style does not mean an oaked wine (though it can be), but rather a riper, richer style of Sauvignon Blanc - not the usual grassy or lean style.
This 2010 Napa Valley Fumé Blanc is made from 94% Sauvignon Blanc with the addition of 6% Semillon for texture and mouthfeel. A proportion of the wine was fermented in barrel for extra richness, and the rest in stainless steel to preserve the bright fruity aromas and flavors. The new wine was aged on the lees (with stirring twice a month) for five months before bottling.
Related: 2011 "Gouleyant" Cahors, Georges Vigouroux
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne
(Image: Robert Mondavi Winery)