One Good Bottle: Californian Sauvignon Blanc

Todd Coleman

As a newly trained sommelier, I often have my textbook expectations upended by unusual wines. One such bottle is Kristine Ashe Vineyards "Entre Nous" Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($34). Rather than the herbaceous tang I've come to recognize in sauvignon blancs, this white smells yeasty, and briny like the ocean. Ashe's team ferments half of the grape juice in 600-liter concrete eggs, a European practice that's gaining some traction lately in the States. The material allows the wine to breathe without adding woody flavors, and the egg's natural vortex constantly mixes yeast throughout the juice for added richness. The wine's aroma evolves into more-typical Californian ripe apricot and tropical fruit, but its unique, full-mouthed texture delivers lasting pleasure, and the flavor has a refreshing mineral edge. Try it with grilled fish or an aged goat cheese.