Napa/Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc Sample Tasting

The general manager at my day-job hotel is looking to replace the in-room minibar wine, so he hosted a tasting of some local sauvignon blanc samples. All were 100% SB and sourced from Napa and Sonoma. The only brand I recognized was Mondavi. Did that sway the final decision?

Tasting Notes:

Mondavi 2020 Napa Valley SB

Very acidic and fresh. Fairly simple profile – white peach, green apple, honeycomb. The most vibrant of the bunch. Perfect for sipping by the pool on a hot day or drinking as a palate cleanser after a bazillion heavy Napa Cabernets. 14.5 abv!

Hindsight 2021 Dry Creek, Sonoma SB

Straight up asparagus. Roundest, fullest, most complex of the four but the least appealing for the purpose we are looking for. A thinking wine. One colleague described it as “dirty socks.” Yes, a little bit cheesy. Incredibly limey with gooseberry, musk melon, dried peach. 14.1% abv

Pursuit 2020 Napa Valley SB

Fruity but more subtle. Hay, yellow apple, a light whiff of orange, white peach. Enjoyable and easy to drink, entry level wine. 13.5% abv

Brendel 2019 St. Helena, Napa SB

Unfortunately corked. Finding an SB with a cork instead of a screwcap is odd enough these days. But a corked SB is weird and confusing to the senses! Is it moldy, musky? Nah, just TCA contaminated


What did we choose? It was a close race between The Mondavi and the Pursuit. The Hindsight is lighter and has the intrigue of being less well-known on our side of the Mayacamas Mountains, but in the end, it was Mondavi that won out. The brighter palate was more appealing, plus the name recognition would boost our clout. No matter how I personally feel about the Mondavi name (spoiler alert: it’s owned by a multi-national conglomerate and has lost all of its charm in my opinion), it was overwhelmingly voted the best option. My favorite SB is still Ghost Block, but that wasn’t one of the options!

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