Crisp and cooling, saugivnon blanc is one of our favorite hot-weather wines, and Clos du Bois' 2009 release is a model of its kind.
Although the ever-reliable Clos du Bois is a California vintner, with headquarters in Sonoma, this sauv blanc reminds us of its New Zealand cousins: It hits the tongue with a big gulp of grapefruit and a definite pong of gooseberry. That opens into lush melon, countered by bright lime and the green flavors of fresh herbs.
The wine gets partial barrel fermentation combined with aging on the lees in oak barrels, which gives it just a touch of toast and vanilla; a portion of it is fermented in stainless steel barrels to enhance the melon and grapefruit. The latter lingers right into the finish, which has a clean mineral edge.
Priced at about $12, the wine is available at big-box stores and wine shops. We'd drink it with a big salad, maybe a tropical take on a Cobb, with lots of buttery avocado, sweet-tart mango, salty bacon and snappy little grilled shrimp. It would also be delicious with cold roast chicken, prepared with lots of chopped lemon and fresh herbs.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.