Summer Time, Summer Wine – C.B.S.B

Since it’s summer time, I thought we’d go with another nice, backyard sipper to beat the heat. I’m not an a-typical white wine only in summer kind of guy. However, I came across a few good Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc wines that I want to share, and will do so with abandon!

Today’s review is a nice offering from Courtney Benham, which is part of the “Martin Ray Wine Family“. It’s their 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, which was an affordable $11. The grapes for the 2007 offering come from Lake County, California. The Vineyard Notes read as follows:

The 2007 Courtney Benham Sauvignon Blanc is produced from selected vineyards in the Lake County appellation. This wine exhibits the richness and classic varietal flavors that come from this region. Warm days and cool nights provide favorable growing conditions for the vineyards in this appellation

Frankly, I’m not enough of a cork-dork to break down what that means, especially in relation to the Russian River Valley or Carneros. I do know, however, that for the price, this is a very enjoyable California white. It’s made of 85% Sauvignon Blanc grapes and 15% Chardonnay grapes. I’ve had a few other Martin Ray and Courtney Benham wines, and I do enjoy this one very much.

I chill my whites to 48 degrees, and serve them cold and refreshing. I try not to cool them more than that, or it’ll mute the flavors. That’s the palate for those of you who are trained professionals. If it’s too cold, as nice as that may be on a hot Florida afternoon, it’ll taste similar to drinking yellow water. It’ll warm up as it sits in your glass and in your hand, and the flavors will open up too.

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In the glass this white had a very pale color. It was akin to dried out straw or a washed out blond who’s surfed one wave too many. It has a pleasant bouquet, not over powering but quite inviting. It’s very tropical, with pineapple and tiny undertones of citrus The primary scent I detect was melon, however. It’s like someone put a giant chunk of cantelope in a bowl fashioned out of pineapple pieces.

In typical Sauvignon Blanc style, this wine is very crisp on the palate. It’s certainly a dry wine, with a light showing of fruit up front. The mid palate is reminiscent of vanilla peach, but still a very light fruit. The finish has a nice amount of acidity. I hazard to say it’s a tad unbalanced, but I frankly like the acidity on the finish. I would certainly recommend this wine as a stand alone sipper. However, there’s something that I would pair it with in a heart beat to make it even better.

A little sliver of parmesan cheese found it’s way into my mouth. After allowing the flavors to permeate my mouth, I took a nice long sip of this refreshing wine. I noticed that the parmesan muted much, if not all, of the acidity, and really brought the fruit out. It became much more fruit forward and flavorful. It also made the mouth feel much more silky than crisp and acidic. It wasnt quite chardonnay like, but it really changed the characteristics nicely. I took a nice chunk of bread, and slathered it up in Robiola cheese from the market. It went as nicely as the parmesan, if not nicer. Therefore, by way of empirical research and scientific deduction, I assert that a fabulous cheese plate served with this wine would make a great impression at your next shin-dig.

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There are a lot of new world Sauvignon Blancs on the market. However, at this price point, I think this is a solid showing. It’s got nice tropical flavors that separates it from Pinot Grigio, with a good amount of acidity missing from most P.G’s. It’s a great summer sipper at a great price. I won’t lie and say this is my FAVORITE Sauvignon Blanc, or even my favorite at this price point. I will say it’s a nice summer sipper at a fair price that pairs quite nicely with cheese. I would definitely give it a try if you get the chance.