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.