- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2005

Santa Rita, Sauvignon Blanc 120, Lontue Valley, 2004, $6

This fresh, vibrant springtime sipper from Chile delivers oodles of flavor for not much money. True to the varietal, it tastes of grapefruit and other citrus fruits, with an herbal edge to provide complexity.

Not as nuanced as the top New World sauvignon blancs (most from New Zealand or South Africa), it nonetheless succeeds in that same upfront style at a bargain price.

Although some winemakers mute sauvignon’s vivacious appeal by fermenting and aging the wine in wood, this grape variety naturally wants to taste fresh and bright. The winemakers at Santa Rita wisely vinify and store their sauvignon in stainless steel to do nothing to detract from the grape’s vibrancy. The result is a wine that fairly bursts with flavor.

Sauvignon blanc in this style is an ideal spring wine, as it conveys a cool, almost sharp initial impression, followed by a core of warmth, much like the season itself. Light-bodied, this particular example will pair nicely with shellfish or dinner salads. Given its low price, it’s a great choice for serving at a party. (Imported by Vineyard Brands.)

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