- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ferrari-Carano, Fume Blanc, Sonoma County, 2007, $17

Ferrari-Carano’s fume blanc used to show so much oak influence that the dominant flavor reflected the sort of charred vanilla taste that can give California white wine a bad name. In recent vintages, however, the winemaking team at this popular Sonoma County winery has scaled back on the wood, thus allowing the wine to display bright, refreshing fruit. It’s a delicious change for the better.

Fume blanc is a California pseudonym for sauvignon blanc, a grape that naturally tastes fresh and lively. This wine smells and tastes of grapefruit and honeydew melon, with a hint of new-mown grass in the bouquet and echoes of spice in the finish. It is medium-bodied and, above all, refreshing and just right for springtime sipping.

This wine was fermented in a combination of stainless steel tanks and older French oak barrels, giving the wine just a whisper of oak, something that adds interest but never seems distracting. Very tasty on its own as an aperitif, it also will pair nicely with many Asian or fusion-styled seafood, chicken or pork dishes.

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