A Lively White with Soul-Warming Soup

Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009
Tim Fish
Posted: January 28, 2011

If chicken soup is Jewish penicillin then miso soup is the Japanese version, so during flu season I don’t take a chance: I make miso chicken soup. Even when I’m not sick, and even if it takes two hours to make, I feel spoiled. I cook the chicken slow and low and stir in onions, ginger, garlic, mushrooms and bok choy.

It’s the sort of dish that needs a particular wine. The soup is rich and has layers of complex Asian flavors. A full-flavored Chardonnay might come off fat and clumsy, so that isn’t my first choice, and yet a bracingly crisp white like a Grüner Veltliner or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would be too much of a contrast.

I prefer a California Sauvignon Blanc that plays it down the middle, like the Honig Napa Valley 2009 ($16) I served with the soup recently. The wine’s key grape source is Honig’s estate vineyard in Rutherford and except for 1 percent Sémillon, it’s pure Sauvignon Blanc. It’s fermented in stainless steel and then aged for three months in a blend of stainless and large neutral oak casks. It has floral citrus aromas with a touch of grass and crisp yet creamy nectarine and lemon flavors that have a refreshing finish. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009 (88, $16).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Top Values among Sauvignon Blancs from California.

Member comments   4 comment(s)

Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA —  January 28, 2011 4:20pm ET

I gotta agree with you Tim, I am a fan of the Honig as a go to for a non agressive California SB. I like the 89 point rating, very fair.
I visited Le Macchiole in Bolgheri today, have you ever tasted their Paleo Bianco? Its SB blended with Chard done in more a White Bordeaux Style. I felt that the 2009 was live and racy, balanced and great, around 91 points id say. Ill have the article up on my visit fairly soon.

Tim Fish — Santa Rosa, CA —  January 28, 2011 5:14pm ET

Thanks Jeremiah. I'll look for it.

Mark Lyon — Sonoma, CA; USA —  January 29, 2011 7:40pm ET

I drank the 09 Honig SAB BTG in Vegas a week ago. How ironic? I liked it very much with ceviche at the time. Call me provincial; but I am not a fan of very grassy, gooseberry, high acid NZ SAB. I prefer more richness in the Napa and Sonoma versions. Always thought SAB belongs on soils too rich for Cabernet in those areas. Now, I'll have to try SAB w/ Miso and Chicken soup. Always luv boiling those Rocky free range chicken bones; big believer in making your own stock!

Tim Fish — Santa Rosa, CA —  January 29, 2011 7:59pm ET

Thanks for the note, Mark. Great comments.

Would you like to comment?

Want to join or start a discussion? Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!

To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. To learn more about member benefits, take our site tour.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? WineSpectator.com seeks a highly motivated digital journalist for an assistant editor position in its New York editorial department.

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories