Paso Robles is one of our favorite California wine districts, both for the quality of the fruit grown there and for the inventiveness of the winemakers who specialize in the region. Don Sebastiani and Sons of Napa have jumped on the bandwagon now with their 2010 Project Paso Sauvignon Blanc, a luscious sauv blanc with a hint of semillon widely available at about $15.
The lively nose of this wine is a tad unusual in that its dominant lemon note is buttressed not only by white pepper but also by a hint of vanilla, which is more often associated with chardonnay. On the tongue, however, big full-bodied cantaloupe, grapefruit, apricot, papaya and refreshing lemon are dominant with some nice grassy grace notes fluttering around the edges. And although this wine is quite soft and lush for a sauv blanc, it finishes perfectly cleanly with a welcome spike of mineral crispness.
This wine will serve nicely as an aperitif or paired simply with goat cheese and a crusty loaf, but we're recommending that you try it with a cold summer supper of baby lettuce and white peach salad dressed in a yogurt blue cheese dressing, followed by spicy mustard chicken and a side of boiled, skin-on new potatoes in a mustard and herb vinaigrette. That's what we did, and it was just right.
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.