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

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

These two Northern California whites are similarly priced, similar in style, and even their names are so similar that they almost rhyme. Fat fruit and oak takes them both somewhat out of the style category that I prefer in Sauvignon Blanc, but the Beringer does it to an extreme that's frankly irritating. If I wanted Chardonnay, I'd buy Chardonnay! But that being said, both wines are well-made and fairly priced, and the Benziger, despite its oak, is at least reasonably typical of the grape.

Benziger 1995 Sonoma County Fumé Blanc ($8.99)
Clear, pale straw color. Gooseberry and grass aromas, pleasant Sauvignon Blanc. Bright and crisp on the palate, citric and herbaceous qualities in balance, with a sweet oaky quality that becomes more evident as the wine warms in the glass. (Feb. 25, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: The grassy character makes it exceptional with an asparagus risotto laced with a strong Pecorino Romano cheese.

Beringer 1996 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($9.29)
Clear light-gold color. Pineapple and butterscotch aromas are reflected on the palate with full, bright fruit, buttery and vanilla flavors, sweet oak and soft acidity. This is a Sauvignon Blanc? You could have fooled me. It's a dead ringer for a Chardonnay ... a fairly good Chardonnay, yes; but what's the point? (Feb. 24, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Grilled swordfish, for which purpose the buttery wine worked well; I'd normally have gone with a Chardonnay.

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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