August 2019 Issue
Sauvignon Blanc is an especially fine source of good value in white wine, and it is a marvelously versatile wine at the table, but it is also a variety that is impossible to pin down with respect to any singularly defined style. It can run from refreshing, directly fruity, warm-weather quaffers to tangy, pungently grassy versions and occasionally produces richer, very serious and decidedly complex renditions such as the high-scoring, famously ageworthy renditions from Shared Notes, Larry Hyde and Grgich Hills that head up this month’s survey of notable new releases.
2017 Les lecons des maîtres – 94 points
The white wines of Bordeaux are the avowed model for this impeccably crafted, multi-layered wine that offers a much different perspective on fine Sauvignon Blanc than its slightly brighter and racier cellarmate reviewed just below. Combining grapefruit, pineapple, minerals, sweet oak and a touch of fresh grass, it is full, fleshy and quite firm in feel with a sensationally long finish, and its considerable richness does not rely upon pushy ripeness. It will be prove be every bit as long-lived as its somewhat leaner sibling, and the two rank among the more serious and collectable Sauvignon Blancs to be had.
2017 Les pierres qui décident – 92 points
Inspired by the brisk, firmly structured, minerally Sauvignon Blancs of France’s Loire Valley, this spirited effort focuses on limes and green melons with a distinctly flinty inflection to its fresh-as-can-be aromas and flavors, and while pervasively suffused with tooth tingling acidity, it is bright and nervy without erring to stiffness. Lovely now as a palate-cleansing partner to seafoods galore, it is a terrific proponent of Sauvignon Blanc’s ageworthiness and can be counted on to reveal increasing complexity over the next five-plus years without any danger of losing its marvelous vibrancy.