Hate to say it, but Halter Ranch’s Sauvignon Blanc is an also-ran. We wanted to feature the winery’s 2008 rosé, but it was already sold out. But that doesn’t mean the sauv blanc isn’t any good – just that the rosé was better.
It’s a cool climate sauvignon blanc with the citrus character in the nose that you would expect. Okay, that the hard-core wine geeks would expect. The acids are gentle, not bracing or especially palate cleansing. And the rich mouthfeel and lack of oak contribute to the overall image of a good sipping wine, something to enjoy after a hot, long day at work. But it’s too well balanced and dry not to be enjoyed with a favorite summer brunch or picnic. White beans, cheesy polenta and ceviche would be great partners with a wine like this.
Sauvignon blanc is finally developing a following for the right reasons as opposed to being the Anti-Chardonnay. Lean, citrusy and crisp, it’s a great summer wine, and the Ceja 2007 sauv blanc, out of the Sonoma Coast region, fires on all the right cylinders.
If harvested and made with slightly underripe grapes, sauv blanc can have a distinctly “catbox” aroma. If overripe, it goes soft with melon and pineapple/tropical fruit aromas and taste. It is in that thin middle ground that its characteristic grapefruit aroma and crispness really gets to express itself. Although, too much grapefruit and the wine is definitely out of balance.
The Ceja had the grapefruit aroma indicative of a normally ripe fruit at harvest. Not much oak was detected due to the use of older barrels, which added almost no flavor to the wine but did concentrate the fruit flavors. The concentration became obvious in the mouth with the lemony/lime crispness and minerals on the mid-palate. The decent finish and modest mouthfeel make this a good palate cleanser and an excellent aperitif.
While many sauv blancs are little more than lemony water, the Ceja is a nice summertime refresher. Or try it alongside any number of dishes from chicken that’s been marinated in lime juice and garlic, ceviche or anything that has citrus elements.