I feel like everything Grgich Hills produces has an element of fun to it. Even their rustic Zinfandels and hearty Cabernets take the intimidation out of the Napa red wine stereotypes. But nothing says a whimsical night of wine drinking than a fumé blanc. Even the name has a bit of witticism: an accepted synonym to Sauvignon Blanc, the nickname was given to the varietal by Robert Mondavi in the 1960s — purely as a marketing gimmick. So cheers — gimmick or not — to a fun fumé by a fun producer.

About the Wine: The Grgich Hills 2015 Fume Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes (about 80% of which is the musqué clone) harvested from the winery’s estate vineyards located in both the American Canyon and Carneros AVAs of Napa Valley in California. About 80% of the grapes were fermented in 900-gallon French oak casks and 20% were fermented in small French oak barrels — all of which was fermented using naturally-occurring yeast strains. The blended wine then aged sur lies in French oak barrels (100% neutral) for 6 months.

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open up the bottle of the Grgich Hills 2015 Fume Blanc and breathe in the simultaneously sweet and savory scents of apples, yeast, and cold butter. On the pour and into the glass, this white wine is a pale, peach-like yellow. Once settled, those initial aromas from the bottle hold true, but add to it lemongrass, passionfruit, and a tropical sand minerality. Swirl, and enliven those tropical aromas with the addition of misty seaside air, pineapple, wet grass, and soft white-petaled flowers.

On the palate this white wine is quite light-bodied, with the dominant flavors being you’d expect based on the nose. Yet the acidity level is surprisingly lean and does a delicate job tying everything together. There is just a bit of effervescence as well that breaks up what could otherwise be considered a domineeringly fruit-forward Fume Blanc. These tiny bubbles give way to a little surprise spice kick on the finish, that lingers just a moment before fading away and enticing you to take another sip.

Food Pairing: I actually enjoyed the Grgich Hills 2015 Fume Blanc as an aperitif before moving on to a fuller bodied red wine for my meal pairing. What I loved was that the Fume Blanc was light enough to be enjoyed as such — it wetted my wine appetite without filling me up. I enjoyed it so much, I did the same thing the following night with the remains. Sometimes, nothing is the perfect pairing!

BUT! As a side note, I’ve had this wine before and have a review of the 2014 vintage of the Grgich Hills Fume Blanc. And I do agree with my assessment from about a year ago — this wine would (and most certainly did) pair well with chicken curry.

More Info: I received the Grgich Hills 2015 Fume Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers Ken!) Retail: $31. For more information about Grgich Hills, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Grgich Hills website.

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