Is Fumé Blanc Age-Worthy?

We've been a bit fanatical lately about Fumé Blanc. Our flagship white is the heart and soul of our winery, and we're on a mission to tell the world just how fabulous this wine is.

Yesterday, we took our zealousness one step further by hosting a retrospective tasting of some of our oldest Fumé Blancs dating back to the 1973 vintage. The last time we did this was 16 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the winery. So, it seemed high time to gather some of our favorite writers and wine educators to help answer the question:

Does Fumé Blanc age well?

In attendance were: noted wine writer Dan Berger, Leslie Sbrocco, author and wine consultant to The Today Show, Sara Schneider, Sunset Magazine, Linda Murphy, Decanter Magazine, Virginie Boone, Press Democrat, and radio personality, Ziggy “The Wine Gal” Eschliman.

We broke the tasting up into two flights. The first consisted of the winery's Sonoma County Fumé Blanc from the past three decades: 1973, 1977, 1982, 1983, 1989, 1992, 1998, 2002, and 2007. The second flight consisted of a 10-year vertical of our single vineyard estate bottling, called DCV3 vineyard. This incidentally, is the backbone to our main bottling and is from the winery's original Sauvignon Blanc vineyard planted in 1972. It's a historic vineyard (the first to be planted in the Dry Creek Valley after Prohibition) and a wine, author Paul Lukacs included in his book, The Great Wines of America: The Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages.

Talk about a trip down memory lane! A unanimous favorite was the 1977, still rich and vibrant with notes of dried cardamom and cilantro. It was the perfect example of the “Italian Deli phenomena” whereby the bright citrus fruit flavors are replaced by the smells of a wonderful old Italian delicatessen (green olive, oregano, rosemary). One taster added chamomile tea as a descriptor. I couldn't help but think back to the year 1977. It was the year of my 8th grade graduation. The NY Yankees won the World Series, Jimmy Carter was elected President, and Elvis Presley died.

Another favorite was the 1983 vintage. Few of the wines exhibited the intense “CP/AP” aromas that are often associated with the Sauvignon Blanc varietal. If you aren't familiar with these highly technical terms, I'll give you a hint. One is reminiscent of cat urine the other, underarm body odor. Need I say more?!

We then paired these “moldy oldies” (my term for older wines whose labels are a bit weathered from being in the cellar so long) with Fumé inspired dishes for an alfresco lunch in the picnic area. It was a beautiful day and a gentle reminder that holding onto Fumé Blancs, if made in a crisp higher acid style with no oak and no malolactic fermentation, can yield some beautiful results.  

So, the moral of the story is that Fumé Blanc can age very well indeed. If you find yourself with an older bottle, do not despair. Crack that baby open and brace yourself for the wonderful possibilities of a mature Sauvignon Blanc.

  Click to read Leslie Sbrocco's story on Retrospective Tasting! Click to visit Leslie Sbrocco's web site and read her story about the retrospective tasting.  

Click to listen to Chicago Tribune Interview!

Click to hear the Chicago Tribune interview with Bill Smart on Fumé Blanc and Dry Creek Vineyard.  
| | Comments (3)


Jack said:
July 5, 2008 1:08 PM

Wow, sounds like it was a great tasting!

hustler Author Profile Page said:
July 5, 2008 3:07 PM

I need some of this in my life.

Golly said:
July 11, 2008 10:40 AM

Ah 1977 - for British kids that was the summer of the Queen's Jubilee. Free pop and crisps at street parties, free commemerative mugs, but no wine. Shame!

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on July 3, 2008 12:15 PM.

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