Chateau St. Jean was an early and successful pioneer in white wines, especially chardonnay, in Sonoma County. Not to mention riesling, pinot blanc, the cult red Cinq Cepages, merlots and malbec too.
It's no surprise it makes great sauvignon blanc too, although CSJ likes the name fume blanc. No matter, this one, from a star vineyard in the cool of the Russian River Valley, also gets special care and fermentation in oak barrels. Lesser chard should have so much fun.
That raises sauv blanc well above crisp and grass-green fridge-quaffer status. The nose and mouth are full of fruits, from lemons to pineapple with hints of spice and smoke. Another treat is the feel: racy mountain-stream minerals, yet also a creamy texture and pleasing finish.
Invite this fume to a nice dinner, maybe seared scallops or lobster.
Availability: Wine shops and better liquor stores, $15 to $20.
Chris Sherman, Times staff writer