My wife and I love traveling the outback of the American West. On a recent trip to northern Nevada, we provisioned at the Trader Joe’s in Reno, where I picked up a $6 bottle of Rootstock Sauvignon Blanc. I had never heard of it, but figured, what the heck. At that price, I’m open to trying most anything. I’ve always found that Trader Joe’s offers a solid quality-to-price ratio for nearly all of the products it sells, and wine is no exception. Industry veteran Dennis Patton made this white from purchased juice at his DnA Vineyards in California’s Mendocino County.
A few days later, Wendy and I were camping at the mouth of a place called High Rock Canyon. The site was beautiful, nestled under a bluff of red rock and surrounded by miles of sagebrush. It was also historic; the canyon formed a key route for the Western pioneers on their way to California or Oregon. I set up our portable grill and opened up the Sauvignon as I cooked our meal of sausage, green beans and onions. The clouds were thickening, and the wind began howling, so we ran and then ate our meal in the car. It was a portent of things to come: By the next morning, it was snowing.
The wine was a good match for our rustic cuisine, featuring a ripe, fruity aroma and flavors of green pea, grass and a touch of tropical fruit, with some honeyed notes on the finish. I rated it 84 points, non-blind; I would have liked just a bit more freshness to the fruit, but it was a fine bargain nonetheless.
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