A Refreshing, Dry White from Napa Valley

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Most of you know the story of Robert Mondavi’s trip to France’s Loire Valley, where he fell in love with the wines of Pouilly-Fumé. He later decided to christen his own production of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc as “Fumé Blanc” – and the rest is history. Fifty years later, winemaker Genevieve Jasnssens still makes a steely crisp and penetrating version that owes more to the style of France than to the tropical, fruit-laden examples being made by California neighbors and throughout New Zealand. If you like the “wake me up,” dry styling that Sauvignon Blanc can be, you will feel welcomed here.

2015 Fumé Blanc, Robert Mondavi Winery $20 srp

Pale-but-brilliant golden color. A lilting nose greets you, suggesting springtime grasses, stone fruit, melon and a touch of lime. Flavors are decidedly crisp and sharp with elements of quince, peach and ripe persimmon. There’s a final touch of kiwi and a minerally “cut” providing mouth-watering refreshment. Try with a cold cucumber soup, whole shrimp appetizers or some Jamón Ibérico. (96% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Semillon.) Drink now-2020.

90/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi

Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.

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