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Managing editor Kim Marcus joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beats include Austria, Greece, southern France and Portugal.
Kim Marcus

A California Sauvignon Blanc for Sipping

Cartlidge & Browne Dancing Crow Vineyard Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Kim Marcus
Posted: February 25, 2011

I’m always on the prowl for well-priced California Sauvignon Blanc. The other day in my local wine shop, I dove into the California selection and was attracted by an offering from Lake County. This wine region, wedged into mountainous terrain north of Napa Valley and east of Mendocino, has long been the home for value brands delivering solid quality-to-price ratios. (Wine giant Kendall-Jackson got its start here.) Sauvignon Blanc from Lake County vineyards is notable for its rich tropical fruit flavors but remains off the radar for most wine drinkers.

Cartlidge & Browne sources fruit from 1,000 acres of vineyards throughout California, including the 28-acre Dancing Crow vineyard. This organically farmed site features clay-based soils and a microclimate moderated by the cooling effects of nearby Clear Lake, California’s largest freshwater body (Lake Tahoe is shared with Nevada).

The grapes for this wine were harvested during the third week of September, and then the juice was fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks, except for 1 percent, which was fermented in oak. Clean and fresh tasting with fig, citrus and pear flavors, this wine offered herbal notes, hints of stone and a rich mouthfeel. I rated it 87 points, non-blind, and it costs $12 a bottle.

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for recently rated Top Values among California Sauvignon Blanc.

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