Posts Tagged ‘Sauvignon Blanc’

Front and Center: 2012 Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc

In Drinking, Sauvignon Blanc, Uncategorized on April 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm


While some may claim that the clay soils of Sancerre or the gravelly earth of Graves creates the world’s most striking Sauvignon Blanc, there I would argue that they have never tasted the outstanding white wines from Chalk Hill Winery’s estate.

With Chalk Hill’s Sauvignon Blanc you get the compelling Old World depth of taste and California propensity for extravagant fruit. Smells of fresh peaches, pineapple and pear surge from the bottle. The palate is extremely ripe – they believe in stirring the lees to enhance its already toothsome, luscious mouth feel – and carries the wine through its substrates of honeydew melon, lychee and mango flavors. It finishes with a lively, refreshing acidity and mineral purity. This is front and center California Sauvignon Blanc.

Curiously, one market that once considered Chalk Hill’s style of Sauvignon hackneyed, unsophisticated, and just un-elegant, has adopted it wholeheartedly – Bordeaux, France. Chalk Hill regularly plays host to aspiring French vintners, and the wine I always feel to be a kindred spirit is Chateau Margaux’s Blanc. To me the main difference is not in terms of style (Margaux’s Blanc clocks in at 15.5% alcohol with 33% new oak [more than Chalk Hill]), but rather price. Go ahead – I dare you to compare!

Enjoy this scrumptious wine as a cocktail on the patio, with a delightful salad of crab, avocado and grapefruit; or carry it on through a meal of roasted chicken with morels and ramps. Don’t worry, it’s bold enough to accomplish it all.

Please contact us regarding pricing and availability:

2011 Paul Cherrier Sancerre

In Drinking, Sauvignon Blanc on July 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm


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Is Sancerre the ultimate Sauvignon Blanc?

I think so.

It is here, in the hands of the young Paul Cherrier, that the shimmering sense of citrus, floral, mineral and herb interaction as well as the combination of fruitiness, brineiness and umami that makes up this wine’s deep savor will leave you shaking your head in wonder while licking your lips in grateful anticipation of the next sip.  Paul Cherrier’s Sancerre is the ultimate Sauvignon Blanc.

What’s going on with this wine?

The complex interaction of terroir – of matching grape with soil, place with person is magical.

Sancerre sits on the Kimmeridgian plate, a soil type that extends all the way the to Champagne and back, France an back to the town of Kimmer, in the United Kingdom.  The out cropping of this limestone calcareous soil that occurs in Sancerre is ideal with thin topsoil and subsoil layers.  These soils are strong enough to support grape vines yet offer good drainage from water, leaving the vine with powerful minerals without diluting the ultimate fruit.  Further, the thin topsoil exposes the mother rock, increasing its heat retention which ripeness the grapes to an extraordinary level.  Finally, the calcium, soil pH, and nitrogen levels are perfect for the growing of Sauvignon Blanc – and very little else.

It is amazing, yet true, to think that all these factors find their confluence only in Sancerre.  But the soil and grape would be meaningless without the person.  And Paul Cherrier is an expert at managing these factors to the point that he used to sell his fruit to all the famous wine-makers in Sancerre:   Dagueneau, Cotat, Vatan, and Riffault.  But no longer.  He has taken his precious fruit and made fantastic wine:

Aromas of white peach, apricot, clementines and passion fruit practically erupt from the glass.  The palate is concentrated and rich, yet with superb delineation and precision.  Paul is a master at both Sauvignon’s gorgeous fruit expression while under laying it with the complex flint, wet granite, red currants and stony minerality that are the hallmarks of Sancerre.  If you were ever in doubt about a white wine’s ability to be zesty fresh while also having a deep savoriness doubt no more – it is right here, in this power-packed Sancerre.

The French believe in terroir – and after tasting this, I think you will too.


Please contact us regarding pricing and availability: or 414-289-4963.

What to do with all that basil?

In Basil, Drinking, Eating, Sauvignon Blanc on June 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

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What do you do when your CSA (community sponsored agriculture) farm delivers five pounds of basil?  Make a basil salad served and serve it with Cullen’s Sauvignon Blanc, of course!

Here — basil, seared lightly curred chicken, roasted baby corn, creamy garlic vinaigrette and fresh baby radish.  Absolutely delightful with the Cullen!

The Way It Should Be: Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc

In Drinking, Sauvignon Blanc on April 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm

James Healy and Ivan Sutherland know good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  But nobody really cares.    

Didier Dagueneau’s challenging Pouilly Fuisse Silex, sales or Haut Brion’s Bordeaux Blanc, rx or maybe even Merry Edward’s 96 Point Green Valley Sauvignon – these, sickness these wines are great Sauvignon Blanc; surpassing the boundaries of a “simple” Sauvignon to become some much more, like a Picasso framing a child in multiple dimensions on the same canvas: a great work accomplished via simple means.    

New Zealand’s Sauvignon efforts are no longer mentioned alongside these luminaries because of the now-vast quantities of swinish, dubious knock-off Sauvignon.  As a consequence, truly expressive New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is pushed out and forgotten, tossed into the river of ubiquitous industrial beverages produced to fill the vast slop-barrel of foreign thirst. 

This isn’t the way it should be.  Well-made, site-specific New Zealand Sauvignon is one of the tastiest wines in the world, equal in measure to anything from the Loire, Bordeaux, Friuli, or Russian River.  And Healy and Sutherland know this because they have made, and continue to make, archetypical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  And you should care.

In the late 1980’s, the cool-climate region of Marlborough on the southern island of New Zealand produced Sauvignon smelling of cat piss and ammonia.  Nowadays, every winery from Bordeaux to the BFE claims to “make wine in the vineyard” from “the best grapes” planted in “the greatest vineyards” and probably in “the best of all possible worlds”.  But back in the 80s, NZ wasn’t the best of all possible worlds. 

Turning back the clock to 1985; at a winery called Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, Healy and Sutherland put into practice Dr. Richard Smart’s pioneering research into methoxypyrazines and canopy management.  Using Dr. Smart’s research, their brains, and raw sweat, Healy and Sutherland cropped their vines low and raised their trellises high to expose the fruit to the sun, pushing the grapes into ripe, tropical flavors of pineapple, mango and papaya.  And we know these flavors well – they are the flavors of New Zealand Sauvignon. 

And suddenly, from a country whose pervious agricultural export of note was the kiwi fruit, the world could not have enough of their Sauvignon Blanc.  Demand ran high so every swindler with a spade or a hoe started banging out a Sauvignon Blanc.  And if everyone is making one then anyone’s the same as the next one so why not choose the cheapest? 

Why not indeed.  

I did mention cat urine earlier, didn’t I? 

The imitators – that unrelenting sea of swill sailing under the title of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are not the real thing.  Dog Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc is the real thing.

Dog Point Vineyard (note Dog, not Cat) may sound like a funny name but it references a specific site, as well as harkens back to the early careers of Healy and Sutherland.  The vineyards of Dog Point are the oldest in Marlborough and named after a spot where sheep-dogs congregated (Marlborough was once sheep country).  By drawing on their early vineyard experience, Healy and Sutherland have now created a Sauvignon Blanc of such vibrant fruit and textural elegance that you deserve to taste it.

Dog Point Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc announces its vibrant fruit from the moment the bottle is opened.  The classic Marlborough scents of pink grapefruit, tangerine, and passion fruit come bursting out of the glass.  But unlike other New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs the wine doesn’t stop there.  Layer upon layer of aromas follow, ranging from candied ginger to papaya.  The palate is citrusy, vigorous and refreshing.  The wine’s luscious fruit character drives the front of the palate but the finish leaves a Loire-like kiss of such evocative minerality and poise that its’ sensual, lees, sweet croissant flavors last almost a minute after the wine first touches your lips.   

Not all New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is the same.  Some are better than others, and Dog Point Vineyard is world class.  

2008 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc     

Suggested List Price:  $22.99

Special price via this email:  $16.99

We will taste this wine Friday and Saturday.

All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number.  All orders will be available at the time of purchase.  Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.

When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged.  The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge.  Offer is good while supplies last. 

This piece was edited by our “Sir Winston Churchill” of the editing desk, Tim Hansen.

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