Sauvignon blanc is my favorite summer wine, but I've discovered it's one of those love-it-or-hate-it varietals. To some palates, its astringent tang is refreshing, while others find it sour. And that trademark musky aroma (sometimes described as resembling that of tomcat pee) can be off-putting.
Lovers and haters might find middle ground over glasses of Root: 1 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, from the Casablanca Valley in Chile (widely available at about $12). This friendly version of the varietal has sauvignon blanc's summery appeal, but tones down the qualities some people dislike.
The winery's name, Root: 1 (the Original Ungrafted), comes from the fact that Chile's vineyards were among the few in the world not devastated by the Phylloxera pest a century ago. As a result, vines there grow on original rootstock, rather than being grafted to protect them from the destructive insects.
The winery's sauvignon blanc has a subtle nose — no suggestion of tomcat, just bright citrus with floral notes.
The wine's flavor is fresh and fruit forward: lots of lemon and clementine rounded with white peach and cantaloupe. There are understated grassy notes, but no astringent bite. This sauvignon blanc's mouthfeel is soft, its finish crisp.
Root: 1 sauvignon blanc was made for sipping on the porch or poolside, as an aperitif to cut through the muggy heat of the day. It's food-friendly as well. I'd pair it with shrimp tacos with jicama-mango slaw, or with cold roast chicken and a salad of new potatoes with herbs, shallots and mustard vinaigrette.
Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer