St. Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2005
I had this wine by the glass at the California Pizza Kitchen as a prelude to their excellent
roasted pepper and goat cheese pizza: $8 a glass and the bottles run $15 to $17 retail. This
was an excellent mood wine, full bodied and mouth filling, with crisp, refreshing acidity and
fruit enough to keep me interested.
My first whiff gave me more minerality than I expected, indeed a rather complex amalgam of clay, stone and petrol, but the fruit came soon after: a range of citrus (lime, grapefruit and orange), and fragrant melon. The mouth felt a pleasant spritz and an addition of white peach to the mix, followed by increasing tropical notes with each taste: banana, mango, and a little kiwi.
The wine has a finish that I enjoyed but that might trouble some, because what begins as a fruity minerality converts into some notes of bitter orange rind at the finale, which isn't as smooth as some may want and which includes a little too much heat. I certainly consider this a minor issue, especially if you are having this wine with food.
The first impulse is to attribute a little New Zealand sassiness to the wine, since the fruit and
acidity are there, but the wine also has aspects of French minerality, you could even say
European reserve. Some wines demand comparison to type, styles and other expressions of
the grape, but this Sauvignon Blanc has enough going for it to allow us to take it on its own
terms. Ultimately it is quite a satisfying mouthful; I wouldn't want to hear that they started
tinkering with it.
Verdict: Satisfying Mouthful
Every wine is a human effort; I like to think we keep getting better at it.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman