Until the late 1960s, sauvignon blanc grown in the U.S. was often poor quality and mostly used to make sweet wines. But legendary Robert Mondavi, who died in 2008, made history when he developed a drier, more complex style through aging in oak barrels. He named his wine Fumé Blanc after the Pouilly-Fumé appellation in France’s Loire Valley and the French word for white. Mondavi’s Napa Valley Fumé Blanc launched the popularity of sauvignon blanc in this country, and the wine has continued to win high scores from critics over the years. It’s compared below with the Starmont Winery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Both would go well with fish, chicken and other white meats.
Robert Mondavi Winery 2018 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley, CaliforniaBought • Total Wine, 90 Brentwood Promenade Court, in July for $15.47
Description • Rich and lively, this iconic wine received 91 points from Wine Spectator. It’s a blend of 87% sauvignon blanc and 13% sémillon that’s been aged in French oak. The result is a complex, medium-bodied white that has a lush mouthfeel and refreshing acidity. Beautifully balanced, this white tastes of fresh, juicy stone and tropical fruits and ends with a long, citrusy finish.
Starmont Winery and Vineyards 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, CaliforniaBought • Total Wine, 90 Brentwood Promenade Court, in July for $13.99
Description • Starmont is located on the historic Stanly Ranch, which was one of the first vineyards planted in Napa Valley. Its aromatic sauvignon blanc, which scored 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, is also a complex, medium-bodied white, but it’s higher in acid than the Mondavi. Aged in neutral French oak, this zesty white combines lemon, lime and tropical fruit flavors along with floral and herbal notes.
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