16 August 2010

2009 Oberon Sauvignon Blanc

Sometime soon I'm going to publish a mass post of Sauvignon Blancs. I tried a lot of them over the summer, and am still collecting my notes. In general, I like the grape. At its most simple, I think about the grape like lemonade: tart, cold, and refreshing. But sometimes you get surprised.

2009 Oberon Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, $15, 13.5% abv. Light with outstanding minerals and chalk, highly restrained aromas of jasmine and melon, with just a touch of fruit and acidity on the palate. Round mouthfeel, and just a little bit of that chalk shows up on the finish and I love it. I was seriously reminded of a Sancerre with this wine. Going into it the only thing I knew was that it was from California, and yet when it passed my lips I was stunned. And for the price? Normally you have to know a lot about French wines to get a bottle of this quality for $15, and it helps if the person on the other end doesn't know what he's selling. This is not your standard big fruit, strong acid, California SB. It's not like most of what you see from New Zealand or South America. Despite the Northern California birthplace, it is most reminiscent of the Loire Valley.

Like the Aussie Chardonnay I mentioned on Friday, this wine is partially oaked, and ever so deliciously balanced because of it. While cold it goes down smooth as silk; later, as it warms and your palate is activated from the meal, traces of oak and structure are more present. How do you decide how long to leave a particular wine in oak? Ahem... A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene i, li. 508-509:

Oberon: How long within this wood intend you stay?

Titania: Perchance till after Theseus' wedding-day.

No idea if they pulled part of this from the barrels after Theseus got hitched, but I'm happy with the results, and frankly more happy to brush off the dust from the handy Shakespeare Concordance (St. Martin's Press, 1953).

I served it with a roasted pepper pizza... Why the potatoes in the background of the photo? For some odd reason I was reminiscing about my visit to het Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and how there would be a gigantic portrait in the northern Renaissance style, and you'd have a big wrinkly head of some Flemish peasant grimacing by the light of a window, but on the counter would be a set of lovingly rendered turnips. I always love those little background details of antique tools, dinnerware, or odd vegetables.

This wine was received as a sample.


fredric koeppel said...

so Shakespeare knew about winemaking too.

Benito said...


A bit out of context, but I thought it was a happy coincidence.