Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday's Wines: Rutini Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a grape cultivar that seems to be a somewhat forgotten behind Chardonnay and Riesling. Both of those cultivars have faithful followers, as well as vocal detractors. Sauvignon blanc doesn't really reach either end of that spectrum. When it does get mentioned, two of the characteristics that get most often thrown around are "grapefruit" and "cat pee." The sea of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc might bear some repsonsiblitiy for its poor reputation. Yet, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for some of the world's great wines. Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Bordeaux blanc, and Fruili are home to some of the world's great dry white wines - and they're all made with Sauvignon blanc. And then throw in Sauternes - home to perhaps the greatest dessert wines on the planet - and you can see why Sauvignon blanc should get a bit more respect.

Here is a fun little bit of trivia you can use at your next dinner party. Few people also know that it's one of Cabernet Sauvignon's parental units! Some time in the 18th Century after a late night out with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon was born. Its name is hence Cabernet franc Sauvignon blanc. Interesting how a crisp white wine and a perfumed, somewhat lighter red can come together to create a cultivar that makes big, rich, tannic wines. Genetics are sometimes curious!

Rutini 2014 Sauvignon blanc
Argentina is one region that doesn't come to mind when I think of Sauvignon blanc. There shouldn't be any reason the cultivar wouldn't succeed in the vineyards of Mendoza, so I decided to give the Rutini 2014 Sauvignon blanc (12.5% abv, Sample $25) a try. It has an nose filled with aromas of green apple and limes. Those tart fruit flavors are complemented on the palate with the addition of grapefruits and cut grass. The green notes are in the background, but present nonetheless. Tasted blind it would be difficult to guess anything other than Sauvignon blanc. The mouthfeel is quite nice; there is a subtle creaminess balanced with loads of acidity. Overall, this is a very nice wine, but probably slightly overpriced.

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