Regular readers will remember that over the last few years Joel Gott of St. Helena has become one of our favorite California winemakers owing to his ability to bring out every least nuance of a grape's character in his varietal wines. We've raved about his ultraclean unoaked chardonnay and his luscious cabernet. Now we add his 2010 California Sauvignon Blanc (about $13 at big box stores) to our list of his hits.
The color of this vivacious wine is an elegant pale straw. It shimmers in the glass. On the nose we revel in fresh clean grapefruit and light cantaloupe. Like its aroma, the complex flavors of this sauv blanc are beautifully balanced: zingy grapefruit, understated white nectarine, juicy Meyer lemon and a nice bass note of ripe cantaloupe. It is a sublime blend of flavors and speaks more to the wonderful sauv blancs from New Zealand's Marlborough district than to many California expressions of the grape. As Colette observes, it's like a little roller-coaster ride in your mouth that culminates in a lovely, bone-dry finish with a perfect mineral edge.
We would happily drink this refreshing wine on its own, but it also will pair beautifully with a wide range of dishes, from punchy snapper Vera Cruz to traditional buttermilk Southern fried chicken.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.