Fumé Blanc is a term coined by Americans. The wine behind this clever branding is Sauvignon Blanc, and it can be oaked or unoaked. Thanks to the climate, California’s Sauvignon Blanc has some unique potential to grow into a very large bodied wine, like Chardonnay. Adding oak to this can create an amazingly vibrant, silky, and food friendly wine that has plenty of depth. Chateau St. Jean hails from Sonoma, and is considered one the best producers of this style of wine. Can 2009 Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc bring home the bacon on Turkey Day, or is this wine not quite a Thanksgiving champion?
Sight: It’s quite a brilliant shade of gold. It looks young, healthy, and vibrant.
Smell: Hello alcohol, nice to see you. What’s that behind you? Plenty of lemon and orange zest, with a lots of vanilla, butter, and green apple. Lightest traces of caramel and starfruit.
Sip: The body is very full, and there’s plenty of acid to keep it fresh feeling behind the waves of butter, smoke, and vanilla. There’s a ton of fresh lemon and starfruit, with little hints of cantaloupe and thyme. [A.B.V. 13.6%]
Savor: There’s a good amount of smoke, vanilla, apple, and lemon pith. The flavor is interestingly close to a bourbon with a bit of lemon.
Overall, 2009 Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc oaks in all the right ways. This would be my go to wine for any dinner involving a smoked turkey, or even in the depths of winter, with a deep cream sauce on a pasta. This wine has the acid, oak, and body to stand up to very robust dishes while imparting lots of flavor. It’s nearly chardonnay like in body, with the crispness of sauvignon blanc, a fruit oak balance, and plenty of flavor. What’s not to love?
Verdict: Smoke whip