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Great wineries around Sonoma for sipping sauvignon blanc

There are a lot of lovely wines to drink come springtime, but for many, none represent the season with more of a sense of floral-infused freshness and spicy minerality than sauvignon blanc. Where you enjoy this wine and what you enjoy it with matter, too. It's a classic with seafood, especially raw oysters, goat cheese and spicy food, as well as lightly composed salads. The pairings are up to you, but here are a few suggestions on wineries and tasting rooms to enjoy the wine.

<IP0>Chalk Hill

<MC>This sprawling hillside estate east of Windsor has long made a statement with its sauvignon blanc and though the winery now belongs to wine mogul Bill Foley, the statement hasn't changed at all. Take an estate tour (90 minutes, $30 per person) or dig deeper with a culinary tour (2? hours, $75 per person). Or you can really splurge for the estate luncheon with esteemed winery chef Didier Ageorges (starting at $175 per person), served in the grand Pavilion. Winemaker Lisa Bishop Forbes' 2010 Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($33), set for release soon, is a jasmine-infused study in peach. The winery also makes an unusual sauvignon gris, a variant of sauvignon blanc they grow themselves that is a more fleshy, spicy version of the white. Open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

10300 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, 657-4837, www.chalkhill.com.

<IP0>Charles Krug

<MC>Krug is always a beautiful place to sip wine, its lush lawn such a respite from Highway 29 and other busy spots in the Napa Valley. Now is a particularly worthwhile time to visit, given proprietor Peter Mondavi Sr.'s recent induction into the Vintners Hall of Fame. All of 97 years old, Mondavi is credited with perfecting many of the cold-fermentation techniques used today in California, a process that keeps white wines crisp and fruity. The winery's 2011 St. Helena Sauvignon Blanc ($18), just released, is a testament to that level of perfection, layered with beautiful wisps of stone fruit and minerality. It's also the first wine made by Krug's new winemaker, Stacy Clark. Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2800 Main St., St. Helena, 967-2200, www.charleskrug.com.


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