Saturday, January 20, 2007

Is this a Sauvignon Blanc?

I opened a bottle of Peter Michael 2005 L' Apres-Midi Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County last evening and faced a conundrum. First, a bit of background: a couple of years ago I had the 2003 PM Apres-Midi at Ivy by the Shore and loved it. In due course I found myself on the PM waiting list to join the mailing list. I figured it would be 3 or 4 years minimum but last year I had an offering of the 2003 Les Pavots and took it, even at the steep per bottle price. In the fall I was offered a slew of PM wines with good allocation numbers and selected a fewof his whites. This is my first taste of the lot and, at close to $50 a bottle, I plan to savor it. The problem is that the Apres-Midi doesn't taste like any Sauvignon Blanc that I've had before, not Sonoma, Napa, Santa Barbara, Loire, New Zealand, South Africa, nowhere. No grass, no green pepper, no cat pee odors, no hay. I bet in a blind tasting a number of professionals and MWs would mistake this for a white Burgundy Premier Cru. That said, it's a lovely wine that seems to have the breadth to match with a host of foods. Therein lies the issue; should a varietal taste within a particular range of flavors or are all bets off in favor of a winemaker's vision and technique? Has this wine been manipulated beyond recognition, with alcohol at a stunning 14.6%, or is it a masterpiece work of winemaking? Not for me to say, frankly.

Tasting notes:Very floral opening, with plumeria notes, lemony, crisp acidity and smooth mouth feel, pineapple, melon and banana (yes that's what I taste) dominate with hints of other tropical flavors like passion fruit. Fine balance.


Cheers, Barrld

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