In the middle of February, summer just couldn't seem further away. Yet here I am sipping more Sauvignon than ever. It may be great preparation for summer, but clearly these whites are no more "summer" wines than seafood is a dish you would only start ordering after April has passed.
Just this weekend, for a special birthday occasion, we uncorked the Château de Cruzeau Pessac-Léognan 2000, an André Lurton wine. It was such a delightful rendering with a noticeable dollop of Sémillon you need no season to enjoy it. A cilantro-infused bouillabaisse with heaps of tiny scallops loves this wine at any time of year.
Just below the Lurton in quality and way below in price is the gem of a bottle shown above. I bought the Fortant de France Sauvignon Blanc 2003 upon recommendation. It was last fall when the 2003 vintage was being replaced on store shelves by the 2004. After tasting all the wonderful European whites that the 2004 vintage has been bringing to the table, I'm sure I'd like the current Fortant offering just as much.
This varietal's nice heady bouquet imparts promise. The nose is similar to well-made and sharply-etched Soaves. In this package, which heils from the Midi, Fortant's Sauvignon doesn't have the finest of finishes but lovely aromatics and pungent pine-apply grip on the palate still make this a tremendous value. If you are at all fond of the cépage, I would encourage you to try out this extremely affordable, simply delicious and thoroughly quaffable wine. It's another strong contender for your everyday wine dollar produced by the Skalli family. (Perhaps I could offer no greater compliment than to write about a two wines in as many weeks from a single producer.)
And if you are accustomed to dousing yourself with Sauvignon as a way to find refreshment on a hot summer's day, think instead about uncorking it now. Bottles like these don't necessarily keep, and when they're next to an inviting dish like this, you wouldn't want them to, no matter what month it is.
Sète, France. 12%.