- Ferrari Carano Wines, Sonoma County, Fumé Blanc, 2013
At a recent tasting with my WSET Diploma group the 2013 Ferrari Carano Fumé Blanc was one of the wines in our lineup. With pro-Sauvignon Blanc and I-would-rather-have-anything-else drinkers in our group it was very interesting to find that the unanimous assessment was very favourable – not only was the quality very good but as a drop it was really rather tasty!
American producer, Ferrari Carano is based in Sonoma County, California and for the 2013 Fumé Blanc grapes were sourced from seven different vineyards in three different regions of Sonoma County; Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley. The grapes from each vineyard are managed separately and it is only after vinification that the blend is created from the individual wines.
The term Fumé Blanc is a synonym for Sauvignon Blanc and is most commonly used in the USA where it was originally coined by the iconic winemaker Robert Mondavi of Opus One. In a nod to the premium Sauvignon Blanc producing region of Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire region of France, Mondavi first came up with the term in 1968.
Faced with promoting a bottling of Sauvignon Blanc, Mondavi renamed the wine in a bid to mitigate the unpopular image Sauvignon Blanc had at the time. He also used some oak ageing for this particular expression, which may account for the common assumption that all Fumé Blanc has received some oak ageing. Today wines with this label may be aged in stainless steel, oak barrels or a combination of the two as per the winemaker’s preference.
When the grapes are harvested at Ferrari Carano they are crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks (65%) and older French oak barrels (35%). When fermentation is complete the lees, or dead yeast cells, are stirred up in the wine once a week for a month. The effect of this last action provides a very pleasant richness to texture of the wine.
The 2013 Fumé Blanc is pale lemon in colour with pronounced intensity aromas of green fruit (apple, gooseberry), tropical fruit (melon, pineapple) and white flowers (jasmine, honeysuckle) alongside some creamy notes.
On the palate there is good weight and some richness from the lees stirring mentioned earlier and this is nicely balanced by refreshing acidity and flavours of apple, pear, lemon, grapefruit and fresh pineapple. Together with these fruit flavours are notes of white flowers, which persist nicely to provide good length to the finish.
The website suggests pairing with the usual suspects of seafood and poultry as well as veal and pork and I think the wine would hold up nicely to the latter. As I embark on travelling the east coast of New Zealand, including Marlborough, I am looking forward to comparing and contrasting the different expressions of this grape variety (among others)!
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Ferrari Carano (all images sourced by Ferrari Carano)