Wednesday, June 23, 2010 6:57 PM
Notes on Napkins - L.A. Cetto Fume Blanc 2008
Fume Blanc? Any idea what it is exactly? I didn’t until just a few
years ago. In a nutshell, Fume Blanc is a marketing term conceived of
and utilized by the late great Robert Mondavi to sell a rather fine
batch of Sauvignon Blanc, a grape much maligned in the United States
until the 1970′s. Despite the fact that wine lovers had been buying and
loving Loire Valley Pouilly Fume for decades (made from the exact same
varietal) attempts to successfully market and sell this particular grape
had fallen flat. A clever play on Sauvignon Blanc and Pouilly Fume,
this “new” wine, Fume Blanc, was an immediate hit in the wine world and
Mr. Mondavi had a home run with his first bottling, way back in 1968!
Today, there are many wineries that have labeled their wines Fume
Blanc. Certain winemakers put out wines labeled Fume Blanc and use the
term to differentiate a wine style or aging method used in the
production process. Often this means that the wine has seen some time
in toasted French oak barrels giving it hints of smoke and vanilla. What
is of particular interest to me is that this Mexican producer has
adopted the name although the wine is fermented 100% in stainless steel.
Perhaps they too see the value in this masterful marketing devise.
Wine: L.A. Cetto Fume Blanc
Producer: L.A. Cetto
Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Baja, Valle Guadalupe
Notes: The grapes for this Fume Blanc are grown at common latitude and
in similar terroire to its French cousins in the Loire Valley, but that
is where the similarity ends. The color is a very pale yellow straw with
traces of green and excellent clarity. The nose is crisp and bright
with notes pineapple, grapefruit and freshly cut grass. This wine has a
strong attack on the front palate with flavors of green papaya, melon,
pineapple and citrus predominating. This elegant, light bodied vintage
sees no time in wood nor is it aged in the bottle. It is meant to be
drunk immediately and will not benefit from time on the rack. The
acidity is quite pronounced with a long finish making it perfect for
rich creamy sauces, grilled fatty fish and shellfish. Like the Monte Xanic “Vina Kristel”
that we tasted last week, the labeling and bottle color has been
changed from the last vintage I tasted (2005) and it is a nice
improvement in packaging. I am impressed that these wineries are paying
as much attention to the presentation as they are to the wine itself.
This is a cheerful, easy to drink wine, priced to drink every day. If
you are a fan of Chilean and most Californian Sauvignon Blanc, you will
enjoy this bottling. Try it with raw oysters.
Purchased at Chedraui, Playa del Carmen, Price – 77 pesos.