Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc Napa Valley 2014: Gold-yellow color; citrus, peach nose; citrus, lemon-lime, orange zest, apple slice, minerals on the palate; smooth, very approachable
sauvignon blanc—Fumé Blanc is name Mondavi made up in 1968 to obscure fact wine was sauv blanc because cheaply made sauv blanc plonk gave the grape a bad reputation. The name draws from Pouilly-Fumé, an appellation in France that makes sauvignon blanc. In the years since Mondavi’s label legerdemain wine drinkers discovered how wonderful sauv blanc can be when it is correctly made, and today Mondavi prints “A Dry Sauvignon Blanc” directly under the Fumé Blanc identifier. The “dry” is a tell to the origins of the name game plan; cheap, sweet sauv blancs of the 1960s were abominations unto the Lord; Mondavi wanted distance from that association. This is Mondavi’s entry-level sauv blanc, there are other offerings at higher prices that are highly praised, which is not to say the “Napa Valley” pour is poor. You won’t get the grass and tongue-slicing crisp acidity of similar New Zealand efforts, but for many drinkers that can be a plus. This is extra-dry, concentrated, robust, creamy, shows a hint of oak and nice spice. It has a very respectable finish and plenty of palate-cleansing deliciousness, which is what makes sauv blanc so wonderful and food friendly. A clear winner in its tier. $20
Robert Mondavi Winery website
Second photo: Wappo Hill Vineyard, Stags Leap District, major source of grapes used in this wine.