This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Mar. 7, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080307.php.
Another fine white blend
A few issues back, making a case for the traditional White Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc as a whole worth more than the sum of its parts ("When 1 + 1 > 2," Feb. 27), I promised to return to the subject soon with a report on a similar California white blend.
Today's as good a day as any, so let's sit down and pull the cork from one of the more enjoyable West Coast white blends I've sampled in a while.
St. Supéry 2005 "Virtu" Napa Valley White Wine bears the licensed title "Meritage" (rhymes with "Heritage," not the Frenchified "Mehr-i-tahzh"), a designation available for U.S. wineries making wines from the traditional Bordeaux blends. It's most often seen on reds, but Meritage whites are permissible as well; and this one fits, a blend of 47 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 53 percent Semillon in this vintage.
The blend, the winery says, will vary somewhat from year to year depending on the wine maker's decisions based on the fruit. I find it a bit more full and rich than most White Bordeaux, but it's stylish and appealing, with mouth-watering citric elements from the Sauvignon Blanc and somewhat more rich and textured tropical flavors from the Semillon. It's a fine white, worth seeking out.
St. Supéry 2005 "Virtu" Napa Valley White Wine ($21.99)
Pale straw color with a slight greenish-brassy hue. Distinct red-grapefruit scent bespeaks its Sauvignon Blanc component, with a whiff of white pepper adding an aroma accent. Full and rich on the palate, grapefruit and lime; something a little more tropical, maybe green figs and fresh dates, perhaps reflecting its Semillon on the back of the palate. Bone-dry and crisply acidic, with a rational 13.2 percent alcohol level to enhance its excellent balance that lingers into a long, clean finish.
FOOD MATCH: Serve with richer fish or shellfish dishes; very good with pan-seared fresh halibut with a Newburg-style Grana Padano Mornay accented with Dry Oloroso Sherry.
VALUE: Not a cheap wine, but very fine. Its $28 winery price is a bit dear, but it's more than fair at typical street prices from $20 to $25 around the U.S.
WHEN TO DRINK: The 2006 vintage is now on the market, but the 2005 is still widely available and drinking very well. Its stylish and balanced presentation suggests that it might cellar well and add a bit of richness and complexity over at least a few years.
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