2010 Fetzer Echo Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

2010 Fetzer Echo Ridge Sauvignon BlancPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the bottle Balance. I’m a grape-friendly winemaker. Rather than push, I persuade. Our Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that calls for a soft hand to capture the crisp, clean flavors of lemon, green apple and mint making this a popular, food-friendly wine. With its balance of refreshing flavors and smooth taste, this is a great wine to start the end of your day. Pairs well with a salad with goat cheese and shellfish, especially oysters or lighter dishes.

What I Think:

(13.5%) Fresh and grassy on the nose backed by Lemon and mineral notes. Round on the palate with ripe pineapple and grapefruit balanced by a tart acidity. The acidity is followed by a talcy spice and leads to a crisp but short finish. While a bit flabby (could use more acidity IMHO) this is a simple sipper. Can’t knock it but at the same time it isn’t that exciting either. Serviceable may be the word I’m looking for…

Rating: Serviceable <- to absentmindedly drink but not recommended to “taste”…

2010 Seismic Sauvignon Blanc

2010 Seismic Sauvignon BlancPrice: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by V2 Wine Group

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Situated on the “Ring of Fire”, an enormous fault line skirting the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand has its share of seismic activity. The fault line goes directly through the center Marlborough’s Wairau Valley and our vineyards where we craft earth-shattering wines. Our Sauvignon Blanc is a true revelation of the great growing season, careful vineyard site selection, and stringent fruit development that result in exceptional, distinctly varietal wines. Showing ripe lychee notes and underlying grassiness this refreshing wine finishes with hints of flint. Enjoy chilled as an aperitif or with seafood or Asian flavors.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Bright with nice round, juicy fruit (passionfruit, nectarines and more) but on a flinty, mineral based backbone before giving way to a tart, grassy acidity that drives this one to a crisp. (white pepper) spiced finish. I dig it. If you are a Sauv Blanc fan and looking to stock up give this one a try. I’m likely to grab a handful more as summer nears…

Rating: Buy It

2010 Jaja de Jau Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $9.99 via Pasternak Wines (pdf)*

What They Said:

2010 Jaja de Jau Sauvignon BlancPer Palate Press “The nose is very aromatic, offering up tropical white flowers, sweet pink grapefruit, and a very light touch of gooseberry. The flavors tend more to citrus on the palate, lemons and white grapefruit lead the attack, adding white flowers and starfruit on the mid-palate. A distinct minerality and salinity underlie all the flavors, from start through the finish. A very strong backbone of acid runs through the wine, giving it very clean, bright flavors and the ability match up to the heaviest foods. Drink it with stuffed flounder. Highly Recommended.”

What I Think:

(11.5%) 100% Sauvignon Blanc – My 2nd vintage of this wine (I covered the ’09 here) this one is pale yellowish gold in color with a grassy nose. Bright and fresh on the nose with some red grapefruit flavors before a zingy acidity (with a tinge of mineral salitness) kicks in leading to a (whole lot of) puckering tart, lemon finish that is crisp and refreshing while lingering nicely. I was again surprised at how much I liked this one. Not tropical but New Zealand like in style this is a simple (yet aggressive) wine. That said with my penchant for exploring I’m not sure I’ll revisit this one but given two years of consistency you could certainly do far worse at the $10 (or less) you can pick this one up for… Ready made to pair with the seafood dish of your choice.

Rating: Good but…(given my exploring ways I’m unlikely to be stocking up)

*This wine was received as a press sample

2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

I’ve had a few vintages of this one and it has always been a good choice for the money. Long a fan of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (and given the broad distribution reach this one has) I was hoping it would once again highlight why Chile is an area to be exploring further. Did it? Read on my friends…

Price: $10.99 via Pasternak Wines (pdf)*

What They Said:

2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon BlancPer International Wine Cellar “Bright straw. Spice and herb-accented aromas of citrus zest and green apple, enriched by a deeper honeysuckle nuance. Dry, taut and linear, offering dusty lemon and grapefruit flavors, along with a suggestion of melon. Shows good clarity and closes with fine cut and lingering spiciness. I like this wine’s uncompromising character. ” 88pts – International Wine Cellar

What I Think:

(13%) Pale greenish yellow in the glass. Big grassy, lemon nose. Big and tropical on the palate with bright flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and peach. This one is lively and fresh with an herbed, spiced mineral acidity that keeps it bright and refreshing throughout. This all leads to a zesty citrus finish that is clean, focused and persistent. Available for as little as $8 retail. Given its broad availability this one is worth grabbing if you don’t mind your wines aggressive or should you ever find yourself in a pinch…

Wine Geek Notes: 20,000 cases made

Rating: Buy It

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2011 Ferngreen Sauvignon Blanc

As part of my quasi-investigative Trader Joe’s Thursday series I delved back into the New Zealand section, where I’ve always had much success, to see what I might find. The beloved King Shag is no more so I was curious as to see whether this one (which is by the way my very first wine from the 2011 vintage) might be an apt replacement and a potential candidate for the Holiday 2011 Trader Joe’s Top 10 Wine List. Word on the street on is that it might be an early favorite for a midrange spot. Want to hear more? Read on my friends…

2011 Ferngreen Sauvignon BlancPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Marlborough is one of the regions of New Zealand, located in the northeast of the South Island, known for its dry climate, the pictueresque Marlborough Sounds, and sauvignon blanc wine. Between two mountainous areas in the long straight valley of the Wairau River. This broadens to wide plains at the eastern end, in the centre of which stands Bleinheim. This region has fertile soil and temperate weather, and as such has become a centre of the New Zealand wine industry.”

What I Think:

(13%) This one is a fairly spot on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a big, bright mouthfeel showing loads of ripe gooseberry, guava and passion fruit flavors. A lemon, citrus acidity emerges on the mid-palate and drives through to a dry, lip smacking finish. Perhaps a bit too ripe for my taste but no doubt a good value for those fans of this style.

Rating: Buy It

2010 Sauvignon Republic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

I still remembering receiving the email from Angela that this one was replacing my long loved King Shag. I remember receiving a text from a friend in Seattle wondering where this one went. And I remember thinking I should update my Top 10 TJs Classics list as a result of this. That said I had sampled the Sauvignon Republic before and I was a fan (though preferred the Stellenbosch) so I figured it was high time to give this one a fighting chance. Could it match its predecessor?

2010 Sauvignon Republic Marlborough Sauvignon BlancPrice: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Sauvignon Republic

What They Said:

Per the bottle “A windswept terroir of hills and dry gravelly-clay riverbeds produces crisp sauvignon with gooseberry notes, herbal grassiness, and restrained minerality. Juicy flavors, crisp acidity and long finish pair well with sea foods of all kinds. The perfect wine with sush!”

What I Think:

(13%) Almost a clear straw in the glass this one shows a big grassy nose loaded with citrus and tropical fruits. Bright lime and grapefruit on entry these fruits turn plush on the palate. From there it turns crisp with an tart acidity that is short lived before the citrus fruit flavors emerge once again. For my palate I would prefer a firmer acidity and crisper finish. That said this is a nice, fruit forward (and a tad aggressive) wine. At $7 the perfect summer wine for your next party but still not quite the King Shag…

Rating: 12th Bottle (meaning I didn’t mind drinking it, perhaps even enjoyed it, but am not inclined to buy again)

What’s your take? Is the Sauvignon Republic a worthy replacement to the King Shag? If not what is your new favorite <$10 Sauvignon Blanc?

2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc

Much like the Bonny Doon Vin Gris this Veramonte has long been a favorite of mine. The 2008 vintage was the first to be a staple in my summer drinking lineup and the 2010 has once again insured that it will stay as such moving forward. Need to hear more?

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Located alongside a creek that runs from high in the hills of El Mauco, Sauvignon Blanc vineyards at Veramonte are managed with air tunnels through the canopy, to preserve airflow and with specific canopy adjustments to manage sunlight all to retain freshness and aromatics. Carefully controlled fermentations in the winery also maintain the wine’s vibrant fruit and aromas. The wine is entirely fermented in stainless steel, never touching oak, so that its freshness and lively aromas and flavors.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Pale to clear straw in color. Citrus and stone fruit on the nose. Grapefruit and racy acidity greet you on the palate with lemon and lime joining in. This one is clean, fresh and juicy with a stony, mineral quality emerging on the mid-palate. It remains vibrant and refreshing through a lasting, dry, crisp finish. A long time favorite in my household this one disappears in mass quantities come summer time. I appreciate its dependability from vintage to vintage as it has yet to disappoint which is rare for a wine that retails for <$10. Worth seeking out.

Rating: Buy It

*I paid for this wine with my very own wallet and will happily do so again…

2008 St. Lukes Blind River Sauvignon Blanc

2008 St. Lukes Blind River Sauvignon BlancPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Lineage Imports

What They Said:

Per St. Lukes Estate Wines well nothing… We do get this from the bottle: “This elegant Sauvignon Blanc was made with grapes grown on the company’s Blind River vineyards in the Awatere Valley region of Marlborough. The nose shows lifted stone fruit aromas. The richly structured palate has an underlying mineral note and a long finish, expressing the terroir of the region.

What I Think:

It seems this one normally goes for around $24 and has been relatively well respected over the last few vintages. The ’06 was confused with Sancerre (Angela would love to hear your thoughts…) and the ’07 received some positive press as well. The ’08? Missing in action. About the only mention I can find is a “coming soon” from the winery itself. Why the mystery? Don’t know but rather than ponder let’s get to the wine…

(13.5%) This one is more mineral driven than would be expected of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a flinty, charcoal component immediately prevalent. That said there are still plenty of lemon/citrus notes here and as it warms some of that more traditional grassiness comes to bear. Crisp with bright acidity throughout on a firm mineral structure that leads to a finish which lingers nicely. Not your everyday Kiwi offering and a pleasant alternative (if you drink lots of NZ Sauv Blanc like me) to the status quo. This isn’t a wine for everyone but I’ll likely be grabbing another bottle sometime soon.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2008 Steelhead Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2008 Steelhead Sauvignon BlancPer Steelhead Wine “This very special wine composed of 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes features delicious flavors of citrus and grapefruit zest with pleasant mineral character very reflective of its renowned Dry Creek Valley terroir.” — Steven Canter

What I Think:

Steelhead was in a recent Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer and try as I might I wasn’t able to come across the Zinfandel. Given that when this Sauvignon Blanc showed up I decided to grab three bottles on sight. You see these are the products of Quivira Vineyards which I’ve heard many great things about. Steelhead Wines has its own site where you can buy this one today for $16 a bottle. Well kind of… You see you have to order 3 bottles which costs you $48 or the equivalent of 8 bottles at the $6 price tag Trader Joe’s is offering. Again (calm down Jason) another winery disrespecting their most important customer. Let’s get to my notes before the diatribe begins…

(13.5%) 100% Sauvignon Blanc – Typical in color. Clean, nice, zesty grapefruit on the nose. Plush and balanced with cantaloupe on top of a firm mineral backbone which keeps the palate crisp and refreshing. This one is fuller in the mouth than expected with nice citrus fruit on the edges with a pleasant short finish. This one is lacking the overpowering acidity which makes it food friendly and a good choice for the Thanksgiving dinner table for those thinking ahead. I bought three bottles and am likely to grab some more…

Rating: Buy It

What did others think about the Steelhead Sauvignon Blanc? Again I’ll send you over to Jeff’s at Viva La Wino for a different take.

2009 Laurent Reverdy Sancerre

2009 Laurent Reverdy SancerrePrice: $9.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

De nada which comes as no surprise given the importer here, Latitude wines, only handles import and logistics for Trader Joe’s. Given that I would love to hear the story of how this one ended up on the shelves of my local store. Does Trader Joe’s send buyers to France to scout out these bargain offerings? If so I clearly have the wrong job…

What I Think:

When something comes recommended from Angela you have to try it (the Trader Joe’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir is on deck). Given the conversations we have had over the last years I could count the palates I trust more on one hand. So when she gave the word I headed straight out to scoop up a bottle of this one. What did I find?

Mineral, fresh grass and loads of lemon on the nose. You get more of the same on the palate where you find mild white pepper overtones as well. Slight pucker emerges but quickly fades into a tangy, balanced finish. I haven’t had much Sauvignon Blanc from France but this finish surprised me. The acidity on this one was not overpowering which is different from what I generally see in the new world offerings (which I typically drink) from New Zealand or Chile. This made it come across as somewhat “refined” and makes it quite food friendly. At $10 this wine, while straightforward, is very well made and delivers a fair quality to price ratio. If you are a fan of or interested in Sancerre (or are interested in a mellower version of Sauvignon Blanc) this one is certainly worth a try…

Rating: Pricey

What did others think about the Laurent Reverdy Sancerre? Here’s Jeff’s thoughts from over at Viva La Wino