Wine of the week: Lingering summer in Pellegrini sauvignon

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If you want summer to linger, uncork a bottle of sauvignon blanc.

“The wine represents everlasting summer,” said Lynn Krausmann, the winemaker at Santa Rosa’s Pellegrini Wine Company. “Its characteristic aromas of fresh-cut grass, ripe melons and peaches are vivid reminders of the peak of summer season.”

Krausmann is behind our wine-of-the-week winner, the Pellegrini, 2013 Leveroni Vineyard Lake County Sauvignon Blanc at $20.

What makes this wine a standout is its range of favors, from honeydew to grapefruit to lime. It even has a hint of jalapeño in the mix.

Krausmann aims to capture and bottle vibrant acidity and intense aromatics when she makes sauvignon blanc.

The greatest challenge in making sauvignon blanc in Lake County is managing the hot daytime temperatures, she said.

“Though significant in influencing the marvelous flavors and tropical aromas, they stimulate a rapid rate of sugar accumulation during the growing season, which can effectively narrow the window of opportunity to make exacting picking decisions,” she explained.

On the upside, sauvignon blanc is thriving in Lake County, Krausmann said.

“The high elevation, intense sunshine and cool nights collaborate to ripen sauvignon blanc to express exceptional aromatic intensity while maintaining brilliant acidity,” she said. “Leveroni Vineyard, planted by Steve Leveroni in 2000, sits at an elevation of approximately 1,335 feet, where its grapes are exposed to intense radiation from the sun.”

Sauvignon blanc first piqued Krausmann’s interest when she was an intern in 1987 at Cloudy Bay Vineyards in New Zealand.

“After that intoxicating start, my relationship with sauvignon blanc waned,” she said. “No other sauvignon blancs could compare to that first true love and evoke the same intensity of feeling. I never really broke up with sauvignon blanc. We just sort of drifted apart. My interest was eclipsed for a while by my infatuation with riesling, but this particular Lake County sauvignon blanc from Leveroni Vineyard has renewed my interest and rekindled my love for the varietal.”

Krausmann continues to associate the feel of a sun-kissed summer with sauvignon blanc.

“I once worked for restaurateur Gordon Schutte, who shared that he most enjoyed drinking sauvignon blanc after mowing the lawn in Minnesota, where lawn care is a consuming summertime avocation and competitive sport. This seared for me the image of sauvignon blanc as a refreshing wine to enjoy on a warm summer day. The wine will always conjure thoughts of sunshine, green grass, warm nights and long, leisurely days.”

Contact Wine Writer Peg Melnik at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@gmail.com.

Wine of the Week: Scouting for the tastiest sauvignon blancs

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a tasting this week of sauvignon blancs and she found some high-caliber, rare finds. Our wine-of-the-week winner is the Pellegrini, 2013 Leveroni Vineyard Lake County Sauvignon Blanc at $20. Its complexity is what makes it so appealing.

TOP PICK

Pellegrini, 2013 Leveroni Vineyard Lake County Sauvignon Blanc, 14.1 percent alcohol, $20. ★★★★ What makes this wine a standout is its range of flavors, from honeydew to grapefruit to lime. It even has a hint of jalapeño in the mix. Layered. Interesting.

Other impressive wines

Murphy-Goode The Fume, 2013 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5 percent, $14. ★★★ 1⁄2 This wine has an enticing, crisp acidity that buoys it. The sauvignon blanc has tropical notes, with a touch of tangerine. Tasty.

SKW, 2013 Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard, Livermore Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 13.9 percent, $24. ★★★A New Zealand-styled sauvignon blanc with bright citrus and some stone fruit flavors. An intriguing note of jalapeño. Striking.

Chateau St. Michelle, 2013 Horse Heaven Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc, 13 percent, $18. ★★★ 1⁄2 A refreshing sauvignon blanc, with notes of citrus and mineral. Crisp acidity. Vibrant.

McFadden, 2013 Potter Valley, Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc, 13 percent, $16. ★★★ A bright sauvignon blanc, with notes of grapefruit, honeydew and mineral. A good effort, but some of the flavors seem a bit muted.

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