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2000 Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River

Spring seems definitely to have sprung here in San Francisco, and cold, foggy Summer is right around the corner. So this is our brief reprieve from the fog, and one of the two times per year that the weather is just divine. On a sunny day if you're drinking wine, there's nothing better than Sauvignon Blanc for my money.

With that in mind, the group of winemakers that I sometimes taste with got together a group of 11 Sav Blancs to taste blind (as usual). Our opinions were a little more divergent than usual, but this wine was my favorite, and it topped the list of many others.

Rochioli is often mentioned with superlatives by both the wine press as well as wine lovers. Yoshi, the owner of Sushi Ran confided in me the other day that he thought Rochioli Vineyards was the most romantic place on the planet. Year after year, their wines also elicit top scores from the press and major critics, especially their Pinot Noir. While their Sauvignon Blanc also earns top marks, it tends to be overshadowed by the effusve praise heaped on their other wines. Tom Rochioli has been working on this wine for years however.

"We spent years trying to figure out how to tame Sauvignon Blanc," says Tom in a 1996 interview with Wine Spectator. "I like that character--I prefer Sancerre to white Bordeaux--but the wine was just too herbaceous. It was like standing in a weed patch."

Rochioli retrained his vines to bring out more fig and other fruit characteristics, and since then has been producing excellent, crisp wines that are perfect for Summer (or Spring if you live in San Francisco).

Tasting Notes:
This wine is a pale dry wheat color in the glass with clear zesty aromas of green apple, citrus zest, and melon. On the palate it is cool and silky with lovely acid levels and flavors of fuji apples, green apples, grapefruit, and a long citrus finish that is highly refreshing. A perfect wine to drink chilled on a sunny porch swing.

Food Pairing
My favorite thing to eat with Sauvignon Blancs is goat cheese, especially Cyprus Grove's Humboldt Fog aged chevre. Give me a chunk of that and some toasted baguette slices with this wine any day.

Overall Score: 9

How Much?: $20

The 2000 may be difficult to find at the moment, but the 2002 and 2003 are on the market. Try Wine Searcher.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.