YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Tasting Notes

October 06, 1994|DAN BERGER

The following wines are recommended, listed in order of preference. They were rated mostly in blind tastings, though a few were discovered in restaurants.

* 1993 Seghesio Winery ($7.50)--Magnificent green herbal notes with traces of olive, fresh snap peas, melons and pears. A soft, perfectly balanced wine with stunning fresh/crisp finish. A perfect example of the variety.

* 1992 Dry Creek Vineyards ($9)--Olive, herbal (tarragon and thyme) aroma and a faint chile pepper note in the aftertaste. Perfect with seafood.

* 1993 J. Fritz Winery ($9)--Sprightly herbal and melon tones and a brisk pine-y finish. A wine that will be better in a year or two.

* 1993 Buena Vista Vineyards "Lake County" ($8)--Pear, lemon oil and melons in a stunningly fresh, soft wine with a slightly sweet, balanced finish.

* 1993 Bernardus Vineyards ($11)--Stylish olive, melon and pear aromas mingle with just enough oak to give the wine real depth. Not as crisp as some, but the richness is appealing.

* 1993 Alderbrook Vineyards ($8)--Slightly more muted than the above wines, but with perfect harmonies of herbs, pear and delicate oak. Wonderful today; better in a year.

* 1993 Brander Vineyards ($9)--Clean, fresh, brisk juniper/pear aroma and a food-matching layer of acid. Fred Brander's wines age nicely.

* 1993 Rodney Strong Vineyards "Charlotte's Home Vineyard" ($9)--Dried herbs and fresh lemon rind in a soft, easy-to-quaff wine.

* 1992 Wente Bros. Winery ($7)--A mild level of herbs and chile notes from Livermore Valley; a fresh, appealing wine with a delicate lemon-y finish.

* 1993 Robert Mondavi Winery ($9)--Herbs (like dried tarragon) and melons with a fairly light finish. The Reserve ($16) bottling is only for those who like a hit of oak.

* 1993 Canyon Road Cellars ($6)--Aroma of fresh dried hay and pears; soft and easy to quaff; perfectly balanced. Second label of Geyser Peak Vineyards. Often found at $4.50 or so.

* 1993 Geyser Peak ($7.50)--Floral with pears and melons, creamy-soft and loaded with flavor. A bit simple.

* 1993 Quivira Vineyards ($11)--Melons and a trace of olives in a faintly oaky finish. A fine, balanced wine that will be better in a year.

* 1993 St. Clement Vineyards ($11)--Marvelous wine in the mode of a great Graves, with a steely/crisp aroma and a taste of lemon oil, grapefruit, olives and lime. Time will improve it.

* 1993 Parducci Wine Cellars ($7)--Fresh pears, a trace of figs, and no oak to confuse the issue. Good value.

* 1993 Fetzer Vineyards "Mendocino" ($6)--Spiced green herbs, melon and a trace of cumin in a refreshingly crisp, simple wine with good varietal identity in the finish.

* 1993 Cotes de Sonoma ($7)--Lighter-styled wine with lemon/melon aroma and a flavorful aftertaste. Excellent wine often discounted at less than $6.

* 1993 Columbia Crest Winery (Washington) ($8)--Fresh basil/lime aroma and delicate, crisp finish. Not very complex, but appealing.

* 1993 Kendall-Jackson Vineyards "Vintner's Reserve" ($9.50)--Fruity, faintly herbal; a soft, tasty wine. Avoid Kendall-Jackson 1993 "Grand Reserve" ($14): clumsy and far too smoky, it tastes more of burnt wood than grapes.


For those who prefer strong oak in their Sauvignon Blanc, the following wines have it--but they are not easy to identify as Sauvignon Blanc.

* 1993 Mill Creek Vineyards ($8)--Still varietal, but the oak and butter notes are pretty strong. The nice thing is the fruit, which saves the wine. But the alcohol, 13.5%, is a bit high.

* 1993 William Wheeler Winery ($7.50)--Melons proliferate, but the oak is a bit strong.

* 1992 Babcock Vineyards "Eleven Oaks" ($20)--The most oak I have ever tasted in a Sauvignon Blanc that still has varietal character. Some olive notes, but I defy anyone to identify blind what it is.

* 1993 Ferrari-Carano "Reserve" ($14)--Huge amount of oak and tropical fruit, slightly sweet in the finish. A curious wine.

* 1993 Morgan Winery ($10)--Barrel-fermented and an "old apple" aroma with toasty, smoky notes. If you can handle the slightly bitter finish, the wine is kind of like inexpensive Chardonnay.

* 1993 Fetzer "Barrel Select" ($10)--A lot of oak and not very much fruit for it. Disappointing.


The following French wines made from Sauvignon Blanc were judged exceptional, and worth the price. They will appeal most to those who have experience with French versions of Sauvignon Blanc:

* 1993 Sancerre, Domaine Delaporte ($20)--Very complex citrus-y aroma with deep dried herb notes and a perfect sweet-tart finish. Worth the price.

* 1993 Pouilly-Fume, Coteaux du Petit Boisgibault ($15)--Bright fruit, a trace of green beans and a mild green herb finish.

* 1993 Sancerre, Cherrier et Fils ($16)--Lemon oil and chalky notes with delicate herbal nuances and a fine, dry finish.

* 1993 Pouilly-Fume, Collette Figeat "Les Loges" ($17)--More green bean than anything, but an elegant lime finish; dry, crisp and perfect with food.

Los Angeles Times Articles