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Fussiness pays off with winning sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon blanc is the king of wine with shellfish. That's how Mark Rasmussen sees the sassy varietal.

"I love the flavors and boldness of sauvignon blanc," he said. "It's refreshing, lively and not ponderous at all."

Rasmussen is the senior winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner — the Tin Roof Cellars, 2012 California Sauvignon Blanc at the budget-savvy price of $10.

The sauvignon blanc is grassy with notes of grapefruit, lime and jalape?. It's a refreshing wine.

"We stay away from oak and want the typical varietal aromas of the grape including cut grass, peppers, citrus and some tropical notes to show through," Rasmussen said. "Our style is influenced by New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but it's definitely California."

What makes this sauvignon blanc a standout is "a lot of fussing," Rasmussen said.

"There's a lot of fussing around fermentation, monitoring it, talking about it when we taste it, making adjustments," he said. "Because it's a blend of Lake County and Clarksburg AVA sauvignon blanc, there are blending decisions as well — how much of this, how much of that. So I like to think a lot of thought and care goes into it."

Rasmussen is from the Central Valley and a family farm of stone fruits: plums, peaches and nectarines. He's been making wine since the late 1970s, and has been working with the Tin Roof Cellars brand since 2010.

When Rasmussen graduated from UC Berkeley, he went back to the Central Valley and worked with a family in the grape-growing business.

"After a year or two, I knew I had to go back to school and pursue wine in detail," Rasmussen said. "I did a two year master's program at Fresno State and began my career. That's when I first fell in love with wine."

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.


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