…but not of the risky kind with the 2008 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc. Right out of the gate, one gets a sense of seriousness from this 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – pardon me – this 2008 Fumé Blanc from one of Napa Valley’s most respected wineries – the Robert Mondavi Winery.
For those that may not know, Fumé Blanc is actually a pseudonym for Sauvignon Blanc. The person responsible for this brilliant and innovative marketing name change is Robert Mondavi. Prior to the 1970s, Sauvignon Blanc was typically produced in a way that gave it an overly sweet taste, hence giving it a poor reputation in California. In 1968, the Robert Mondavi Winery was offered a large and particularly good crop of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Mondavi then decided to embrace this as an opportunity to differentiate his Sauvignon Blanc from the others with barrel aging and eventually released a new style of California Sauvignon Blanc under the name Fumé Blanc, and the rest is history.
While tasting the 2008 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, it certainly didn’t take long for my taste buds to get the sense that the boss was somehow still calling the shots, and the winemakers at Mondavi are following through spectacularly.
Boss: As you know, we here at the Mondavi Winery created Fumé Blanc, but over the years, stiff competition from other terrific Sauvignon Blanc producers sure has made it tough for us to sell our Fumé Blanc. I need all of you to pitch in and give me your best efforts!
For starters, we’ve got to tame that unruly Sauvignon Blanc with some barrel aging, but we can’t have people scream “Yuck!” because the oak is completely overpowering the wine.
Winemakers: CHECK! We hear you boss. We’ve got that beast Sauvignon Blanc and the oak under control!
Boss: What about the fruit flavors? It has to be great and keep people coming back for more!
Winemakers: We’ve got it boss! Our wine will possess great tropical fruit flavors, along with a special added bonus that will enhance the consumer’s enjoyment of our wine: with our tried and true barrel aging process, our Fumé Blanc will be as creamy and decadent as a fine Chardonnay – just like the French stuff.
Boss: One last thing: we need to make this the best damn wine for less than $20 (US).
Winemakers: A hush fell across the room, but after only a momentary hesitation, the winemakers said, “Done!”
Boss: OK THEN – Let’s go out there and show the wine drinking public what we’re made of!
4 Stars out of 4. Mission accomplished. The Robert Mondavi Winery has been making Fumé Blanc for a mighty long time, and years of hands on experience really shows in their 2008 offering. Try pairing it with a crab cake and Caesar salad.
($20 MSRP, Sample)