Babich Sauvignon Blanc Spy Valley 2003 ($8) (Boatloads I): Yup, it's kiwi sauvignon all right: green chiles, white grapefruit & lemon, a three-note wine. Crisp and brightly flavored, there's a concocted quality to the tritonal flavors (Fresca, anyone?), but it's lean and tangy and has a decent grapefruit-buzz finish. Not bad. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? Yes.] (8/04)

F & J Bailly Sancerre Vieilles Vignes 1997 ($23.99)(Kane Manor): Pale, pale straw; soft nose of lime/citrus with a beguiling aroma of peaches underneath. Light & crisp-tasting, tangy and bright, with the typical sauvignon limey/stoney tastes playing off against that peachy softness. Interesting. (7/24/99)

Blackstone Sauvignon Blanc Monterey County 2004 ($9) (Boatloads VII): Light peachy-grapefruit aromatics, quiet and somewhat generic. Tastes crisp, with some vitamin c tablet acidity spiking up in the middle, then getting lost in the cream-grapefruit finish. Not bad, but remarkably nondescript. [Buy again? No.] (4/06)

Brampton Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2003 ($9) (Boatloads I): Light but pleasant aromatics--green chile peppers, touch of lilikoi to soften the nose. Middling acidity but nicely tart fruit, tastes a bit diffuse, light grapefruit and honeydew flavors. Very decent, if a bit on the soft side. [Buy again? Er...maybe.] (8/04)

Had the Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1996 ($16) as an apertif before a dinner of Coq au Cheap Merlot. Bananas on the nose, a banana-life-saver scent that reminded me of a Dubeouf (sp?) Viognier. Expecting more of a grapefruity zing, but a nice, mellow wine with a touch of flabbiness that was not unappealing. Not really the kind of Marlborough SB I'd come to expect; seemed a little rounder than most, a little more mellony and florid and less, well, I hate to overuse the word, but... zingy. Zippy? Nothing to complain about here, but nothing to write home about, either. (11/98)

Brancott Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1998 ($15): Pale straw color; light nose of grapefruit & freshly-mown grass, light, fresh & spicy; crisp, tangy wine, with a touch of roundness around the edges. A medium-weight, friendly, classic Kiwi SB; not extravagant, light pear note mingles with the grapefruit in the midpalate; bright and zingy. A pleasure. Perfect with pan-fried softshell crabs. (6/99)

Buena Vista Sauvignon Blanc Lake Country 2001 ($8) (Drunken Hawaiian Holidays): Pale straw color. Light lemon cooler aromatics. Tastes softly creamy, characterless and forgettable. What wine was this again? Whatever, never mind. (5/03)

Cairnbrae Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 'The Stones' 2003 ($10) (Boatloads I): Lots of grapefruity citrosity in the nose, white grapefruit and lime rind with a touch of peachiness. Bracingly crisp and spry, a friendly wines with bright, Crayola-colored flavors. Nothing subtle here, just a happy shiny kiwi-style sauvignon that gives a lot of bang for the buck. Fun. SCREWCAP! [Buy again? Yes yes.] (8/04)

Cairnbrae Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 'The Stones' 2004 ($10) (Boatloads V): Cheerful grapefruit & green chile aromatics, medium-crisp and a bit day-glo, like a picture drawn with yellow, green and blue highlight markers. It's actually quite pleasant, in a Frescaª-ish way, and Lisa likes the style, plus it's got a screwcap, so I'll probably pick up another bottle or two. SCREWCAP! [Buy again? Sure, a couple.] (10/05)

Callaway Sauvignon Blanc California 1998 ($8): Pale straw; light, soft grass & grapefruit, hints of lemon on the nose; in the mouth a bit generic, but crisp & light, maybe a touch of sweetness. Soft in the mouth and a bit watery, kind of forgettable, but decently made, and some sauvignon character emerges with a little coaxing.

Carta Vieja Sauvignon Blanc Loncomilla Valley (Chile) 'Clásico' 2005 ($5) (Boatloads VII): Pale straw color. Quietly tropical-grassy aromatics, pineapple and peach laced with new-mown lawn. Medium-framed and medium-crisp, compact in size but with a certain fleshy-fruitiness. Foursquare industrial sauvignon, nicely built and well-polished. There's nary a rough edge, but it's a pleasant little beverage-style wine, you could do much much worse for five bucks. [Buy again? Yup.] (4/06)

Casa Viacava Sauvignon Blanc Mendoza (Argentina) 2005 ($5) (Boatloads VI): Ah, my first '05. Pale straw color, with pinkish highlights. Smells grapefruit-citric, hint of green chile, light hint of ginger. Crisp enough but also rather creamy, a bit of heft to the midpalate. Decently flavorful, a very nice industrial kind of wine, the kind of wine you wish you'd see more of, they've got that grapefruit/chile/grassy/lemon cooler thing down, with whatever enzyme or technology you use to make that, but it works nicely. Not Fresca so much as Squirt, the grapefruit soda. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? Sure, I can always cook with it.] (12/05)

Channing Perrine Sauvignon Blanc North Fork of Long Island Mudd Vineyard 2003 ($17) (Sedate Evening): From Long Island's oldest sauvignon vines! Frescaish sort of feel to it, crisp and lemon-limey. Inconsequential but decent enough. (6/05)

Francois Chidaine Sauvignon Blanc Touraine 2005 ($10) (Boatloads XI): Grassy grapefruit-ginger aromatics, quiet minerality underneath. Bright and zippily citric, it's a wine a fan of New Zealand sauvignon would like. Cheerful, uncomplicated, a little disappointing if you're expecting Clos Roche Blanche-style complexity, but probably a crowd pleaser, and certainly a good value. [Buy again? Yup.] (11/07)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Touraine 1997 ($10): Very light in the glass, light pale yellow-tan; equally light in the nose, very soft notes of citrus & ginger, but it took a lot of swirling to coax anything out of it. Round and sort of diluted in the mouth, not a lot going on (this is a ghost wine); low acidity, bit of tangy generic citrus quality, hint of light creme soda taste. Not much character, but smooth & inoffensive, I guess. Not too far from drinking slightly tangy flavored water. After a day's air MUCH better, light fresh mellony notes emerge. Go figure. (5/99)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Touraine Cuvée Buster 1998 ($15) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner): This hasn't really hit its stride, it actually hasn't developed a great deal over the past few years, seems frozen in time. The nose still has a hint of honeydew, a trace of celery seed, a dab of ginger, light and muted aromatics. The flavors reflect the nose, although a lemon-limey streak wells up in the middle and tries (but fails) to upstage the gingery notes on the finish. Very nice, a crisp and feathery wine with lots of expressiveness in a relatively light-bodied package. I believe this was the last year the Buster sauvignon was produced. I miss it. Buster, we hardly knew ye. Hold. (5/05)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Touraine Cuvée Buster 1998 ($15) (Passages): Smells quietly layered, carambola and honeydew greenness, celery seed, hint of pollen. Tastes smooth and pure and long, expanding spicily in the middle, then subsiding warmly into a gingery finish. A shy wine but one with ever more forthcoming reserves of soothing flavorosity. There's plenty of acidity, but the overall impression is one of light gentleness. Thoughtful wine, a glass to sit with and listen to as it spins its ever more complex story. (4/06)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvigon Touraine 1999 ($10)(Cape May Geeks): Pale straw. Smells ginger-chalky. Tastes lime-chalky, with a lime rind finish. With air some honeydew-green hints emerge. Seems like a larger-scale wine than the past couple of vintages. Fine crisp summery stuff, great for sipping. (6/3/00)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Touraine 2003 ($12) (Misplaced Weekend II): Pale. Lightly gingery, cream soda and lime hints. Tastes plush--loose and velvety, soothing and diffuse and rather broad. A flavorful, rounded sauvignon without the usual spine. Interesting, but I'll probably pass on this year's version and grab what I still can of the '02. (5/9/04)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Touraine 2004 ($11) (Boatloads VIII): Gentle ginger-plaster aromatics, lightly lemony smelling. Tastes gentle and flavorful, softish but with a bright acidic core. Pretty stuff, soothing and relaxed and smile-inducing. These people are so reliably great that I simply don't buy their wines much anymore. Another lovely wine for chump change, year after year, no news here. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? In theory, yes.] (9/06)

Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Touraine 'Numero 5' 2001 ($20) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill 2): Medium straw-tan color. Smells pleasant--light gingery lemon-honeydew, chalk and a dollop of cream. There's a languid feel to the midpalate that comes off as tiredness at first, then starts to seem more like calmness. (3/06)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1996 ($20): Had it with my birthday dinner (tuna steak italian style), and the zing was even zingier than I remembered from earlier bottles. The grapefruity, cat-spray notes just leaped out of the glass at me. Woof. This bottle seemed very extreme in its flavors. But I just realized this is the 1996, and the others I've had have been the 1997. Has the style mellowed with the later vintage? (9/98)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1997 ($20): Yum! Great summer wine, very zingy & herbaceous, with hints of grapefruit--a little rounder than the Stellenbosch, with a slight, slight hint of butteriness, but that was a plus as far as I was concerned. Went with grilled chicken and salad like a dream. Smooth and full-bodied, balanced and refreshing. Very nice indeed. (7/98)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1997 ($20) (Rejeebus): The light swampy funk in the nose is offputting at first, but it blows off to some degree with air, leaving behind citric Lemon Pledge hints, stewed celery and traces of lime and honeydew, all very matte and subdued. Tastes crisp and quietly honeyed, green streaks over light minerality. It has good concentration but it's a little weird, at odds with itself. The pieces seem to be either fading into submission or coming unglued. Jeff eyes his glass quizzically and says "I have the idea this is something that I know that's just been around too long." A different wine than it was on release, nary a gooseberry in sight. I'd been saving it since then to see how it would hold up. It hasn't held up very well. (7/21/02)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1998 ($20): Soft, light nose--this strikes me right away as being in the style of the softer 1997 rather than the much more extravagant 1996, although after tasting it a bit more it seems to have hit a middle ground between the two. Yes, it's grassy, crisp & herbaceous in the mouth, nicely tart & tangy, still a straightforward style of sauvignon blanc that I find fun. (8/27/99)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 1999 ($22)(Joao/Kansas): Very pale straw color. Lime cream, grapefruit & a nice shot of grassy boxwood on the nose--the wine prompts a discussion of our kitties, and it turns out that Jayson's cats and ours share a veterinarian. It's vivid Marlborough sauvignon, bright and effusive, with a sense of balance along the lines of the 97, not quite as extreme as the 96, but zingy and cheerful with rounded edges. Callahan loudly derides it as 'Fresca' but this is a pretty, friendly wine that's racy and flavorful. Good stuff, and a great match for Joe's fresh sea urchin roe with shoyu dip. (3/2/00)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2004 (Rivers of Liquid Gold I): ($25). Very grapefruity, white grapefruit and limeskin with a hint of green chile and a light creaminess. Quite surprisingly zippy-tart, vividly brisk acidity, edgily grapefruity. A fine bright wine, pleasantly zingy and other z words. Good stuff, simple and tritonally intense. (11/05)

Colterenzio Sauvignon Alto Adige Lafóa 1997 (No Hook): Pale, slightly cloudy straw color. Egad, pungent litterbox aromas. I pass my glass towards Lisa, who looks at it quizzically, sniffs and yelps "Meee-OWWWW!" Underneath the catspray there are hints of grass and grapefruit, traces of lime rind and a light spicy creaminess. There seems to be good material here, it's got fine acidity and is bright and crisp, but I can't get past the overweening kittipissinicity. (6/7/03)

Tried a cheaper sauvignon blanc, the Cooper's Creek Sauvignon Blanc 1996 ($11), also from kiwiland. It gave a good dose of grapefruity SB flavor, with lemony-limey tones. We had it frosty cold (it was a hot night, and it hit the spot), so it was a little hard to taste it properly, but it seemed a little coarser than the Cloudy Bay, not such a well-integrated package, with an alcoholey/metallic tang that was a little distracting (perhaps because of the frosty temperature?). Still very nice, with very good QPR (it was around $11). (7/98)

F. Cotat Sancerre Chavignol la Grande Côte 1998 (Swedes Invade): I clench up when I see this coming, remembering my recent travails with the latest Mont Damnés Buster. Okay, breathe... Pale straw. Quiet, chalky-lemon nose with a tiny hint of kitty litter (which reminds me--the cat's doing much better, many thanks to all who sent email). I puckishly ask Andrew if it's the fake or the real kind of kitty aroma and he gives me one of those "You even have to ask?" looks that he does so well. Tangy, crisp, chalky and just oodles of things going on in the glass: lemon-lime, touch of grass or perhaps piney herbaceousness, minerals underneath it all, but there's also a good bit of RS that doesn't quite fit into the puzzle. Strange, but interesting and quite delicious (speaking only for myself, of course). In fact, it's swillsational! (3/24/00)

F. Cotat Sancerre Chavignol la Grande Côte 1998 (Manuel and Josie) is not a shy girl, though, pale straw in color, with happy, bright cat pissiness mingling with carambola and chalk aromas. I am not as confused by the light sweetness in this wine as I was last time I had it, as I'm more mentally prepared, and it seems to buoy up the chalky bright lemon-limey fruit in a way that tickles me. There are no shy notes in this glass; good, balanced stuff with lots going on. (4/23/00)

Francois Cotat Sancerre Chavignol la Grande Côte 1999 ($25) (Oceans of Overpriced Swill III): Rainwatery aromatics, minerals, chalk and lemon. Tastes demisec-sweet, a chalky Chavignol with shy acidity, loose and fleshy and pure. A little strange and all ahoo, but given the disastrous vintage I'd say it's not a bad effort. The overall feel is of a soft, expressive little apertif-style wine that's just happy to be here, hat in hand, ready to serve. (11/06)

F. Cotat Sancerre Chavignol les Monts Damnés 1999 ($25)(Bastille Day) Smells of chalk and lemon with traces of ginger. Not as elusively peachy-floral as the Thomas-Labaille version, a more solid and straightforward wine with impeccable balance, chalky-lemon fruit honed to a surprisingly rich edge for a wine that is fairly low in acidity. There seems to be a touch of sugar, but with Kane here and Manuel arriving I don't raise the issue. A pretty, smooth wine. The finish is persistence itself, a stony-citric hum that keeps recurring on my tongue like a case of athlete's foot. But in a good way. (6/16/01)

F. Cotat Sancerre Chavignol la Grande Côte 2002 ($30) (MartyParty): Striking, beautiful, pure; first a wave of chalk, then lemon, grapefruit and peach come sashaying in, livening up the noseparty. Exquisitely balanced and seductively lithe, bright and elegant and just a bit flashy: Audrey Hepburn in bangles and bugle beads. (2/28/04)

P. Cotat Sancerre Chavignol les Monts Damnés 1997 (Unclear Identities): Lovely, pure, subtle, elegant. Supple, lightly flinty-smelling, hints of white grapefruit and lime rind, touch of sweet peachiness, lots of chalk underneath. Within half an hour, the flintiness has faded almost entirely away and a pure citric-chalkiness has asserted itself. Tastes calm and soothing, a middleweight wine with a great deal of presence. There's sufficient acidity, but also a sense of langour, a Tennessee Williams quality. Great suppleness and flavor for such a calm wine; there's no flashiness here, just friendly purity and modesty. I have to keep myself from hanging onto the bottle and killing it all myself. (8/8/04)

P. Cotat Sancerre Chavignol les Monts Damnés 1997 (Fear and Braising in New Jersey): Quiet chalk and lemon-drop aromatics, bright acidity, rather plush lemon-grapefruit-peach flavors, all rather calm and relaxed. Smooth and deep and calm Chavignol, broad-beamed and wonderfully changeable with air. I posit aloud that, of all wines in the world, Chavignol is the most chameleonic with aeration. I don't wait around to see if anyone argues, who has time? (10/04)

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2004 ($14) (Boatloads V): Big grapefruit and green chile on the nose, more effusively aromatic than the Cairnbrae but pretty much the same tonal scale. A crisp wine with a light creaminess emerging in the middle to mingle with the herbaceous citriticy. It's all very well, but the tritonal grapefruit/cream/green chile thing is starting to seem a bit perfunctory. Is that all there is, just in different sizes? SCREWCAP! [Buy again? Nah.] (10/05)

Lucien Crochet Sancerre 1997 ($15): Light, off-clear in the glass. Fizzy, spicy nose of citrus, lemon and grapefruit notes over a stony, minerally background, with a touch of grass. Crisp, medium acidity, fresh and light in the mouth, nice finish! Citrus flavors gather & regroup on the palate, along with a kind of chlorophyll note--very long & pleasant. Not as far off in taste from many new world sauvingnon blancs as I'd expected, but stylistically different -- smooth and flavorful, more restrained and not an explosion of distinct flavors. A nice wine for the price. (6/99)

Lucien Crochet Sancerre 1998 ($16)(Return to Kane Manor): Pale straw color. Lime and wet stones with a hint of hay on the nose, a slightly quieter nose than last year's version. Tastes a bit leaner as well, but still bright and flavorful and quite decent, if not particularly exciting or confusing. (6/10/00)

Lucien Crochet Sancerre La Croix du Roy 1997 ($20): Pale straw color; happy lemon-limey nose with a lightly chalky undertone. Tangy & crisp & bright, a good package of vivid Sancerre, but not much of a quality jump over Crochet's regular cuvée, which I also like very much and find very similar. I'm not sure this is worth the extra five bucks, but it's good flavorful Sancerre, by gum. I'll probably end up saving my pennies for more of the regular stuff. (2/29/00)

Didier Dagoneau Pouilly-Fumé En Chailloux 1997 (Blind Whites): Light yellow-tan; slatey, spritzy nose; a bit tight, tangy, lemon & limestone, tight, tart & a bit grassy too. Viognier? Maybe not floral enough... (7/8/99)

Didier Dageneau Pouilly Fume Pur Sang 1997 (Cellar Gems): A pale wine, with a soft, rich, sprightly nose. How can it be both soft and sprightly? I don't know, but it manages. More vivid in the mouth than on the nose--nice white grapefruity-flowery notes and a stony background make this a bright starter wine, and it provokes some interesting reactions, from Chloe's "agile" to Craig's "hmmm... sharp cheddar." The acidity, which starts out hidden behind the rich fruit, wells up to a nice zingy tang on the finish. (10/14/99)

Neil Ellis Wines Sauvignon Blanc South Africa Coastal Region 'Sincerely' 2004 ($12) (Boatloads VIII): Another entry in our favorite genre of New World wines consciously fashioned in imitation of Old World wines ("Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" says the back label, while the front is designed to look like a Sancerre label). Smells of jalape–o pepper and lemon cream right up front, segueing into a quiet grapefruitiness. Tastes bright and cheerful, lightly creamy, middling acidity with a soft mouthfeel, easy to sip, relatively uncomplicated. More New Zealand than Loire Valley, but well made and friendly. [Buy again? Yes, by the bottleload.] (9/06)

Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc Napa 1998 ($15)(Trilateral Offline): Pale, pale straw; this wine is apparently the result of either dry farming or dry humping, whatever either of those techno-oenological terms means. Peculiar nose of green plastic lime-juice container with some soft creamy notes behind it. Kind of round in the mouth but with some pointy acidity that doesn't seem to be in the same glass as the limpid fruit, really a little peculiar. Thor can only say "I haven't had a wine like this in a pig fit of Sundays" which is apparently some kind of Bostonian wine jargon. With air it settles a bit and gets both flatter and pointier. (3/14/00)

Domaine Girard Sancerre La Garenne 1999 ($13)(Joey): Fragrantly lime-stony nose with a light hint of cheese. Good weight, density, but turns disappointingly bitter on the finish. (1/6/00)

Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Dog Point Corkless 2002 ($18) (Scheduling): Tritonally smelly: green chiles, white grapefruit and new-mown grass, in equal parts. I don't drink much Kiwi sauvignon these days, so the piercing aggressiveness of the aromatics is a little startling. Nothing subtle here, it's a boisterous racily tart mouthful of white citrus and green grass. It's a happy happy wine, but it's also a little exhausting. There isn't much of a finish, although I'm not sure if that's because having such extremely vibrant flavors makes the lack of them seem like an abbreviation. (12/8/02)

Groom Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills 1999 ($17): Perks me up a bit with a pretty, velvety-smooth nose with soft limey notes and a slight snap-pea greenness. In the mouth more limey/white grapefruit citrus flavors, with an interestingly round mouthfeel, not as lean as the Kiwi SBs that I'm more used to. There is plenty of crispness, but there's some definite glyceriney roundness as well. Pretty nice stuff, though. Imported by LisaLisa Imports (no relation). (1/00)

Weingut Harkamp Sauvignon Blanc Trocken 'Klassic' 2002 (Foodies 3): Austrian sauvignon? Yeah, whatever. I pour myself a waterglassful, drink deeply. Sweet sweet wine, takes away the pain.... Mmm, smells grassy and lightly white-grapefruity, hint of litterbox and cream, seems to have seen some nice fresh barrels. Medium-large sauvignon, there's a flash of heat in the middle, but mostly it's creamy-grassy-citric in a foursquare manner, decent but inert, rather pedestrian stuff but what the hell. (2/26/05)

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 1998 (Premier Cru Jeebus): A French wine. It seems to be a pale straw-tan color, smells lightly of yellow fruit, rainwater and fresh plaster, with hints of lemon. Tastes tart and crisp, turns limey on the finish, with a bit of heat. Not bad. For a French wine, I mean. (9/31/00)

Kanu Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch Limited Release 2004 ($10) (Boatloads IV): Erm, perhaps 'limited' to how much they can sell? The label gives a peculiarly specific list of five dishes that this wine can be served with (grilled shrimp, potato and onion tarts, steamed mussels, mushroom risotto and vegetable stir fry). Not being rulebreakers, we have to wait until one comes around to have it. Bright nose, green chile pepper and a light creamy-grapefruit streak. Middleweight, not extravagant, really rather quiet, less gonzo than Kiwi versions. Tastes very white-grapefruity, kind of foursquare, crisp and bright but with rounded edges, a rather restrained style. Decent and well built but unremarkable and not very distinctive. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? Uhhh... nah, I guess not.] (6/05)

Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc California Vintner's Reserve 2003 ($10) (Boatloads IV): Light limey-citric notes mix with a honeydew streak, simple and lightly creamy smelling. Tastes much like it smells, the acidity is bright, the midpalate melon-citric and the finish brief and a bit hot. Decent foursquare sauvignon, by-the-numbers and boring as hell. Would do in a pinch at a fish place where there was nothing else but chardonnay on the list, but otherwise a solid pass. [Buy again? No.] (6/05)

Koura Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Awatere Valley Whalesback 2002 ($12) (Drunken Hawaiian Holidays): Pale straw color. Just reeks of green chiles, underneath that there are flashes of white grapefruit and yellow apple. Crisp, bright-tasting and pleasantly citric, but the taste too is dominated by green chile pepper flavors. Odd and rather wacky, but if you're not put off by green chiles it's perfectly likeable. (5/03)

Long Beach Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2003 ($8) (Boatloads II): Bit of matchstick-flintiness hovers over very quiet yellowcitric fruit. Not much nose, almost sterile. Medium-crisp vague yellowfruit, a certain general tanginess, not much going on here. Nothing actively bad-tasting, just a very vague quality, generic inoffensiveness that doesn't do much for me. SCREWCAP! [Buy again? No.] (11/04)

Markham Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 1997 ($11). Pale straw color; frosty nose of zippy lemon and freshly-picked snap peas; bright and smooth on the palate, with a touch of roundness to cushion the bright acidity. Pleasantly lemony & fresh-tasting with some nice, though not extravagant, varietal character. (7/11/99)

Mirassou Sauvignon Blanc California 2003 ($8) (Boatloads II): Sort of a creamier take on the kiwi style--green chiles, white grapefruit, light grassiness and a light cantaloupe streak. Crisp, light but a little squishy around the edges, not hard-edged. A bit unfocused, but pleasant lemony-flavored sauvignon with a bit of character and some zip to it. Bit of a chemical/solvent? note on the finish (astringent?), but still rather likeable. FAKE CORK! [Buy again? Tossup.] (11/04)

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2004 ($10) (Boatloads V): Quiet lemon-grapefruit nose, calm aromatics, hint of peach. The mouthfeel gives an impression of solidity, the acidity is firm but there's a heft to the wine that isn't entirely expected or entirely unwelcome. Friendly but laid-back, the velvety-citric flavors carry on nicely and hang in your mouth a moment, then recede, leaving a grassy note as the last impression. Very decent. FAKE CORK! MONKEY ON THE LABEL! [Buy again? Yup.] (10/05)

Domaine de la Moussière Sancerre 1999(Fridge): Airy-chalky nose, light citric lemon-lime notes. Tastes straightforward, "good sauvignon fruit," nicely balanced acidity. Quite decent, not terribly complex but very pleasant and well made, a foursquare Sancerre. (5/12/02)

Mulderbosch Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 1996 ($18): Zippy sauvignon blanc from South Africa--very citrusy, lemons and grapefruit, very brisk and acidic. Probably wants to go with food, as it is very spare by itself. Nice and crisp--lean as can be with a nice, tangy finish. A fine match with grilled chicken and light seafood; a good summer wine. (6/98)

Puzelat Sauvignon Touraine 1998($10)(Longest Night): Pale and gingery, light hints of chalk and nonspecific citrus. A light, pleasant little wine with a harmonious, crisp feel, although tonight it seems rather wan. (12/31/00)

Puzelat Sauvignon Touraine 2003 ($12) (Misplaced Weekend II): Surprisingly lean after the first two, a bit more zip here. Perhaps they picked in June? Quieter and brighter than the CRB but with less overt character--more minerally, hints of lime rind, trace of citric sourness on the finish. Well built but somewhat neutral, doesn't do much for me. (5/9/04)

Puzelat Touraine 'Le Buisson Pouilleux' 1998 ($15)(Kaneturbury Tales): Tight & tangy nose, spritzy with grapefruit and chalky hints; in the mouth it was very much like it smelled, tart and crisp, white grapefruit and ginger, a bigger, more vivid version of the same producer's Touraine sauvignon. (9/20/99)

Puzelat Touraine 'Le Buisson Pouilleux' 1998 ($15) (15 Fox Place): Pale straw color. A quiet, whispery wine, smells of ginger-lemon, white grapefruit and creme soda. Seems faded and slightly watery in the middle, slips quietly away, leaving very little impression. I need something else for these peppers. (3/22/04)

Puzelat Touraine 'Le Buisson Pouilleux' 1999 ($15) (Return of the Jeebi): The name, which apparently translates as 'the ululating bison,' is fanciful, but this is a down-to-earth wine, smelling airy and lightly chalky, with citric hints flickering above a rainwatery-gingerish base. Tangy fruit, easy, slightly soft mouthfeel, a low-profile wine that flows quietly into a lime rind finish. Pleasant, quiet, light. (10/7/00)

Puzelat Touraine 'Le Buisson Pouilleux' 2000($15)(Thoresa): Cloudy and pale, like freshly squeezed lime juice. Thor opines that it smells like Pine-Sol brand disinfectant cleaner, but I find the distinctive aroma more citrusy, white grapefruit and lime rind. The wine is light but gloriously unfiltered--full of cloudy life, much like drinking pond water, but in a good way. (10/7/01)

Puzelat Touraine 'Le Buisson Pouilleux' 2000 ($15) (Threesomes): Smells of white grapefruit and quinine water. Cloudy as always, I am a little alarmed at the stringy striated patterns that emerge when I pour it, but some vigorous swirling dispels any thoughts of ropiness. Tart, white-grapefruity and limey, it's a gin and tonic wine with a grapefruit garnish. Hints of chalk. This wine's strangeness is sometimes compelling, sometimes offputting. It wears a fringed leather vest and fringed boots and burbles enthusiastically about crystals, but there's an earth mother quality that is very attractive as long as you know that you won't be spending more than a little while with it. (2/02)

Michel Redde Sancerre 2000 ($16) (Drunken Hawaiian Holidays): Smells of lime & rocks. Tastes of lime & rocks. Crisp, bright and tart, a limey-rocky wine, duotonal and fairly simple but enjoyable enough for what it is. Don't look for complexity, but it's fresh and bright and cheery enough. (5/03)

Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 1999 (Quiz Show II): A pale, slightly tan wine, it smells quite bright and extravagant, good dose of litterbox, grapefruit, with a slatey undertow. There is some creaminess here, a bit of a buttery quality to the mouthfeel, but it turns tangy and leaner through the midpalate with the structure asserting itself as a hint of green grass emerges on the finish. Pleasant enough, but I find it a bit creamier than I like my sauvignons to be. (4/15/00)

Viña San Pedro Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley (Chile, not California) "35 South" 2003 ($8) (Boatloads VIII): Quiet lemon-canteloupe aromatics, whiff of honeysuckle whiteflorality. Medium crisp and neutral tasting up front, gently creamy, turning white grapefruity in the middle and holding that citric tone through the finish. There's a sense of wateriness, but it seems straightforward and decent, a very mellow little sauvignon, decent but somewhat underwhelming. [Buy again? No.] (9/06)

Selaks Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Premium Selection 2004 ($12) (Boatloads VI): Light peachy-white grapefruit aromatics, whispery and gentle smelling. Tastes crisp and citric, rather neutral in the middle, finishes grapefruity with a hint of grassiness. Mediumweight sauvignon, tart and decent but rather routine. [Buy again? Only in a pinch.] (12/05)

Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2001 ($10) (Winterfest '03): Foursquare Marlborough nose, grapefruit and lime green chiles and a hint of litterbox. Crisp, bright and zippily citric, it's a simple and decent glass of straightforward kiwi-style sauvignon. (1/22/03)

Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Wine of Western Cape 2005 ($7) (Boatloads VII): Tritonal citric aromatics--white grapefruit, limeskin and jalape–o pepper, with just a touch of creaminess. Okay, maybe it's quadtonal. Crisp tasting, more grapefruit in the middle, sort of Squirtª-y, but bright and shiny in its happy simplicity. [Buy again? Sure.] (4/06)

Domaine du Tariquet Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne 'Sauvignon' 2004 ($9) (Boatloads VII): Pale straw color. Light lemonstony aromatics, minerals and lemonblossom. Crisp and composed, fresh tasting and zippily crisp. There's a touch of cream in the middle, but only just a touch, the overall feel is pure and bright. Pretty nice, in a kind of nonspecific way. [Buy again? Yeah, okay.] (4/06)

Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnés Cuvée Buster 1998 ($23)(Iron Winegeeks): Pale straw color. I smell this wine, and I am puzzled. Chalky lemony-peachy notes with a curious mintiness, not like any Sancerre I've had before. I swirl and sniff and can't quite make out what this wine is saying. Very distinctive, to say the least. Densely flavored, but quite nimble and deft at the same time, a suggestion of off-dryness, ever so faint, and a startlingly long finish that just keeps humming along when you think it's done. I don't know, this wine... it defeats me. First I think it's odd, then I like it, then it's odd again, then it seems flat, then it seems sharp, then I don't know what to make of it. I keep expecting it to clear its throat and speak up, but I'm not catching its lingo, and it needs more time spent with it than the twenty minutes I've been sitting here trying to listen, so I bow humbly in resignation and move on to something else. (2/19/00)

Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnés Cuvée Buster 1998 ($23)(Cape May Geeks): I've finally had some time to figure out this wine, and I cock a cold eye on it as it tries to deceive me once again with its chameleon act, veering from a grapefruit-chalky first nosepression towards a light peachy-florality, then back again. It's got that beguiling hint of sweetness that serves to accent the floral quality, but it's not fooling me this time; I'm onto its trickery. (6/3/00)

Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnés Cuvée Buster 1998 ($23) (15 Fox Place): a shot. The wine that never failed to puzzle and intrigue me: it's been a few years, my pretty, let's see where you are.... Ah yes, yes, I remember. It's shut down now, but retains its prettiness and opalescence, a chameleon of a Chavignol. Quiet, understated and shy, it trips lightly between stony-lime aromatics and soft floral-peachiness. A wonderfully pure crystalline minerality flows through it, and as the last hint of lime rind flickers out, that stoniness is what remains. Jay swoons with delight, Kane grimaces and rolls his eyes. (3/22/04)

Thomas-Labaille Chavignol Sancerre Les Monts Damnés 1999 ($15)(Joey): My old nemesis, back to puzzle me. Chalk dust, hints of peach and honeydew, smells bright and fresh. A taste, and it's got a light zippy mouthfeel that conceals surprising tanginess and flexible concentration. Seems a bit hard at first, but air and time flesh out the body of the wine and bring out white-flowery, ur-honeysuckle notes, and soon any thoughts of hardness have vanished, as the wine becomes quite caressive on my tongue. A chameleon that needs more attention than I can give it right now. (1/6/01)

Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnés Cuvée Buster 1999 ($23) (Heat): A beauty; airy-rainwatery-chalky nose, lemon-limestone clothed with a peachy softness and a light honeysuckle florality. Not as deep and elusive as the chameleonic 1998 Buster, but easier to enjoy at the moment, bright and alive in my mouth, silky and crisply seductive, just begging to be slurped down. A slightly more effusive take on the regular Monts Damnés. (6/16/01)

Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnés Cuvée Buster 2000 (Greg Gets Us Wasted): This year's release of the ultra-culty canine Sancerre is very quiet to smell--something is going on but I have to listen for it carefully. Quiet chalky hints, flecks of white grapefruit and green melon. A sip, and here's a tightly-knit young wine with a lean, stony midpalate, racy and prettily balanced but closed and rather inexpressive at first. Towards the end of the evening Jay takes a sniff, says MY GOD, and hands me his glass. Ah, here we are--more exuberant, slipping effortlessly into the chameleon mode that distinguished the '98 and '99 Busters, a different facet of its character with every sniff. There is a light peachy-gardenia floral streak that wasn't present earlier mingling with the chalky-lime-honeydew aromatics, hints of dried herbs amidst the lighter green. With four or five hours of air the midpalate has unclenched and filled out and the minerality that was its salient feature has submerged, only to reappear and dominate the finish. Fetal, kaleidoscopic.

Tohu Wines Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2003 ($13) (Boatloads VI): Light grapefruity aromatics, hint of peach, trace of limeskin. Small, light easygoing sauvignon, correct and decently uncomplicated, crisp and dry and bright. There's a plain-Jane quality if compared to more extravagant Kiwis, but one could say it was just keepin' it real. Still, Lisa likes it. SCREWCAP! [Buy again? Erm... yeah, okay, I guess.] (12/05)

Domaine du Tremblay Quincy 1998 ($16): Very pale; aggressively grassy, stony, zingy nose. A taste, and a mess of white grapefruity citrus flavors, the acidity is a hair short of shrill, tart and fairly extravagant. I would have thought this was a Kiwi wine if I'd had it blind, as it's very grapefruity-grassy. (10/1/99)

Clos de Tue-Boeuf Touraine Le Buisson Pouilloux 2001 (Misplaced Weekend II): but whoops, the first bottle is corked. The second bottle is a lovely cloudy-pale color, like fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Smells citric, grapefruit and lime rind laced with chalkiness, hints of quinine and talc. Closed puckery-tight at first, it opens somewhat with air. Light, balanced and flavorful, a tasty little number. (5/9/04)

Vatan Sancerre Clos La Néore 2001 (Age-Related Drunkenness): Wheeoooh, chalk, chalk, and more chalk, sprinkled with lime rind. Tastes lean and pure, focused down to a pinhole of white flowers, lime and rocks. Not complex in the sense of being layered, but Intensely racy stuff of great purity, a crystalline beauty. Wine of the Night! (9/17/03)

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough/Hawke's Bay Private Bin 1998 ($12): Very pale, just off-clear; fresh, light nose of lime and yes, new-mown grass. Tangy, crisp and light, a smaller-scale sauvignon blanc without a lot of complexity, but a nice flavorful mouthful nonetheless, and a good price. (3/13/99)

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Private Bin 1999 ($12) (Return to Kane Manor): Very pale in color, hints of grassiness and lime rind. Decent structure, a crisp albeit unfocused wine that goes down smoothly with pleasant lemon-lime flavors lingering for a little while. Small, pleasant, straightforward, seems much like the past few vintages. (6/10/00)

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