by Fred McMillin
for July 29, 1997
Prologue: The flavor of Sauvignon Blanc can range from fruit [gooseberries] to celery to freshly-cut grass. Increasing the exposure of the grapes to sunlight increases the fruit and reduces tbe grassiness.
—Dr. Marion Baldy, "The University Wine Course"
The Rest of the Story: So, one needs quite a bit of sunshine to make a grassless Sauvignon Blanc. Then how does the Davis Bynum Winery make such a good one in the foggy, cool Russian River Valley? Davis' son Hampton tells me they use special trellises that "open up the inside of the vines to light, yielding grapes that temper the grassy aspect of cool-region Sauvignon Blanc," Is it working? Well, Hampton says their 1996 is the best Blanc they've ever made. My tasters were very impressed with the unusual intensity of varietal flavors, not masked by oak, lees stirring, etc. If you want to learn more about the Blanc, buy a bottle.
1996 Sauvignon Blanc, Shone Farm, Russian River Valley
Postscript—The Name Game
Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf
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