California wine takes a lot of abuse on the blog, and with good reason. Too much of it is cynically made and with little concern for value. Slap a marketing campaign on it, make sure there is a lot of sweet fruit in the mix, and flog it to unsuspecting consumers.
In fact, one blog visitor, then doing public relations for a wine producer, said her bosses were quite angry with the Wine Curmudgeon for writing just that several years ago, since it applied to one of their products. Which, of course, made me smile – isn’t that why I’m here?
But there are California labels that remind me that the state produces some of the best wine in the world, cheap or not. Dry Creek is one of them and its fume blanc ($10, purchased, 13.5%) is a classic that never disappoints. It’s made with sauvignon blanc (20 years ago, calling sauvignon blanc fume blanc was a popular marketing technique) and displays all of the flavor and character a California sauvignon blanc should. It’s not thin or watery or overdone, but has grassiness, lemon and lime fruit (maybe even a little more this vintage), and a clean, fresh finish.
Highly recommended, and almost certain to return to the $10 Hall of Fame in 2014. This is the fourth or fifth $10 California sauvignon blanc from the 2012 vintage that has been exceptional, including Joel Gott and Maxwell Creek. They have restored my faith in California sauvignon blanc.