How many times a week must a few guys sitting around with a glass of wine come up with what they think will be the next big thing in the business? I'm not sure whether the guys behind the unusually named Sauvignon Republic Cellars have gone that far, but their 2005 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc from California is a runaway success.
The idea here was to focus on just one variety — sauvignon blanc. It was a good idea in that sauvignon is probably the world's most versatile white wine, shows considerable stylistic variation from region to region, and is among the easiest wines to match with food.
Packaging isn’t something I pay much attention to, but I will confess that I was struck by the beauty of the eye-catching triangular label on the Russian River sauvignon (the other wines have similar labels). I hoped, as I always do in these cases, that a seductive label wouldn't overshadow the wine. And it didn't.
More specifically, the wine shows a core of pear with notes of red grapefruit and pineapple, a touch of sage and hints of candied lemon, orange and lime. It’s not sweet, just delicious. Fermentation and aging take place in stainless steel, with no exposure to oak. I have to admit that I enjoyed several small glasses on their own while unwinding on a Friday night without even a thought of food.
But the wine is also made for food, from any number of fish and shellfish dishes like broiled flounder or grilled shrimp, to roasted chicken and vegetables, to Asian foods — to suggest just a few possibilities. Some 10,000 cases were produced, so it should be widely available.
Now I’m curious about Sauvignon Republic’s New Zealand and South African offerings, which are made in much smaller quantities. The Russian River wine will be a tough act to follow.
Edward Deitch's wine column appears Wednesdays. He welcomes comments from readers. Write to him atEdwardDeitch@hotmail.com.