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A Tale of Two Wines

November 28, 2014 - Norman Bentley

The North Georgia Wine Advisor

"A Tale of Two Wines"

2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Oberon Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Thanksgiving this year at our house was a little different, in that we did not have turkey, and no Chardonnay was served to the "Chardonnay Queen". Instead we had Cornish Game Hen and a comparison of two very nice Sauvignon Blancs. The 2013 Oberon is from the Napa Valley, while the 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle is from the state of Washington, not far from the Columbia River. Both are fine examples of American Sauvignon Blanc, and each has received professional acclaim, with scores in the ninety range.

The Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc is an absolute favorite at our house, and we have sampled numerous vintages over the last decade. The "Wine Spectator" scored this one a ninety with these comments; "Bright, vibrant, expressive and juicy, with quince, pear, floral and spice flavors that dance through the long finish."

The Oberon Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley is not as familiar to us, even though we have sampled it a couple of times in the past with pleasing results. The "Wine Enthusiast" gave the Napa entry an eighty-nine, and had this to say:"Dryish and crisp in acidity, it holds rich lemon, papaya and gooseberry flavors. It treads a delicate line between California ripe and cool-climate nervosity. What a great wine for modern Asian-fusion fare." My spell-check had trouble with the words "Dryish and "Nervosity", and I have no idea what the phrase "California ripe and cool-climate nervosity" refers to. I did have lunch the other day at a restaurant where I combined Sushi and Pad Thai, and I think the Oberon would have been a good companion for that meal. However, I was more interested in how it would pair with our Cornish Game Hen.

Here is my take on these two wines, both of which are superb, but they are somewhat different in style. The Oberon starts out with a grassy nose and a background of tropical fruit which flows into flavors of apples and melon, with a strong under-current of grapefruit and lemon zest. The finish is crisp and clean with good acidity, and a hint of tropical fruit. The alcohol content is 13.7%

The Horse Heaven is more rounded and has a bigger fruit presence. The nose is less grassy, and has a definite citrus flair. The flavors are more pronounced with apple and tropical fruit being most prevalent, with a hint of lime and grapefruit in the background. The finish is clean, but more lingering than the Oberon with a little less acidity, which definitely begs for another sip. The alcohol content is13.5%. The "Chardonnay Queen" and I found the Chateau Ste. Michelle to be the more appealing, but your sense of taste may veer more to the opposite, after all wine is a personal thing, and you preference is the only opinion which really counts!

I must confess that I love Chardonnay, but not to the level that the "Chardonnay Queens" does. For some occasions, I prefer a good Sauvignon Blanc, which usually has less character than a Chardonnay, but in many ways is more drinkable. It was the right choice for our Thanksgiving Dinner, and either of these Sauvignon Blancs would be good choice for a variety of foods and occasions.

Chateau Ste. Michelle - score - 92

- price - $14 - $17

Oberon - score - 89

- price - $16 - $19


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Also on AOL Patch sites in Dunwoody, Oconee and others:

WINE – God’s Proof of his love for humanity


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