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2014 Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc

August 6, 2015 - Norman Bentley

When I first started judging wines at wine festivals and other venues years ago, we used a fairly regimented criteria. First, the wine had to conform to the recognized character of the variety which it represented. For instance, Chardonnay usually contains the essence of apple and pear as a basic platform. As the art of winemaking has progressed throughout the years, flavors have become more varied and you can no longer look to Bordeaux or Napa to find standards for the variety you are sampling. One of the hardest to judge or describe, has always been Sauvignon Blanc. At one time you had two basic styles. Grassy flavors from California, and Steely or Mineral flavors from Bordeaux or Loire. I always preferred grassy, with apple and lemon zest in its makeup.

About a dozen years ago Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand began to appear in the market place with a distinct grapefruit presence. I am not a winemaker, but I believe that one technique used to enhance this characteristic is letting the fruit over ripen a touch before harvest. Whatever the method, this "grapefruit" aroma and flavor has become quite popular in the market place, but I must confess that it is not a personal favorite of mine. However, commenting on wines is an objective adventure, and the challenge is to identify good wines regardless of personal preference. I recently received a sample of the 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc from Franciscan, who produces a lot of wines which I enjoy. The Chardonnay Queen and I did not agree on the score for this wine, so in a "Split Decision", I am providing the reader with both responses. I might add, that we both enjoyed the wine.

The Queen's description is; "a distinct grapefruit nose with lemon undertones. The flavors suggest lemon, and lemongrass, which linger to the finish, which is clean with citrus, and a slight mineral back note." The score is 90.

Norm's description is; "a distinct aroma of grapefruit with a little lime, leading to flavors of grapefruit, lime, and a touch of melon. The finish is clean and refreshing with an herbal hint toward the end." The score is 87.

The Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc would be a good partner for Thai Shrimp Mango Tango, or Mexican Shrimp Fajitas. For a special treat, try it with an avocado and grapefruit salad, and you will have your grapefruit fix for the whole week!

Chardonnay Queen's score is 90.

Norm's score is 87.

score: 87 (90)

price: $ 13 - $16


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