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Wine of the Week

October 05, 1995|DAN BERGER

1994 J. Fritz Sauvignon Blanc ($9) and 1994 Mill Creek Sauvignon Blanc ($8): Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that has within it a natural aromatic base that includes a note of fresh-cut grass.

When grown in certain areas, however, that component turns even more intense and such elements come out of it that are described as "asparagus," "green bean" or even "cat box." Because of this, grape growers have worked hard to find vineyard systems that rid Sauvignon Blanc of its more herbal components.

So many growers have succeeded that the grape is in danger of becoming too neutral to identify. One region where this isn't generally a problem is in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, which has the perfect climate to retain enough of the components that make Sauvignon Blanc so appealing with a wide range of the foods we eat these days, based on herbs and vegetables.

In a blind tasting of 19 Sauvignon Blancs recently, these two wines emerged as kissing cousins. Both come from Dry Creek Valley fruit and were handled similarly. I prefer the Fritz just a bit more because of a slightly more distinct green melon, spice and hay aroma.

Mill Creek's 1993 Sauvignon Blanc was a precursor to this wine, but was awfully oaky. This wine has more oak than it needs, but it also has a lot of spice, pear and lime components.

Either wine is a good example of how Dry Creek seems suited to Sauvignon Blanc.

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