[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Rochioli 1996 Russian River Valley Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99)
Clear, pale straw color. Tropical fruit and butter aromas, smells dangerously like a Chardonnay. More butter on the palate, along with fresh fruit, figs and dates, structured by firm acidity and alcoholic heat. A full-throttle wine, big and buttery, resembling a Chardonnay (albeit a good one) much more than it does a Sauvignon Blanc. What's going on here?

FOOD MATCH: Anticipating the buttery quality based on a whiff of the same in last year's vintage, I opened this one consciously to accompany a pan-grilled swordfish steak. A good decision: The match was spectacular, almost enough to salve my natural irritation at seeing a respected winery turn a Sauvignon Blanc into a Chardonnay clone.

PRICE WATCH: A dollar up from last year's retail price, not unreasonable, although it's pushing toward my threshold of resistance for California Sauvignon Blanc.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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