A couple of wines to comment on please, oenophiliacs

The wine retailer I’m a member of has a couple of interesting looking US wines on promotion this month, and I’m looking for any tips I can get from you guys. LAst time, the Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2000, as recommended by Silenus among others, I think, proved a real hit. Light, but tasty.

The two wines I’ve got my eye on this time are Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fume Blanc 2002 and Yarra Ridge Pinot Noir 2003. Any thoughts on these?

Fumé Blanc is just another name for Sauvignon Blanc (coined by Mondavi himself.) If you like Sauv Blanc, which is usually grassy/herby/citrus-y and crisp, then you’ll like the Fumé Blanc. Mondavi wines (now part of the mega wine and spirits company Constellation ) are usually consistent. Not always spectacular, but almost always very drinkable and reliable.

Yarra Ridge is not a US wine. It’s from Australia. I’ve never tried their wines (they’re part of the mega wine and spirits group Foster’s.) Yarra Valley is a cool climate growing region that, similar to the Russian River area around here in the Sonoma Valley of CA, is known for good Pinot Noir. Sounds like it could be a good one.
I’d say buy them and see if you like them. That’s really the only way you’ll know for sure.

I agree but IIRC Mondavi aged in his Sauvignon Blanc in oak for a short time and created Fume Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc was not oaked. After the success Mondavi had with Fume Blanc other vintners jumped on the bandwagon and put out their own FB. Some are oaked, some aren’t.


I’ve had the Fume…quite tasty, if you like the style. Great with a salad, or fruit, or unadorned fish.

The Pinot could be a winner. As **psycat90 ** noted, it comes from an area similar to the Russian River Valley. Give them a try. Neither should disappoint.

It’s *generally * accepted in the wine industry that a Fumé Blanc will have some oak aging, but it is by no means required. Fumé Blanc is simply a synonym (in the USA) for Sauvignon Blanc. A (US) winery could bottle the exact same wine, oak-aged, barrel-fermented, both, or neither, and label it either one. And some probably do, in order to appeal to a greater customer base. It’s really just a marketing ploy.

Thanks for the expert feedback. I was aware that the Yarra is a river in Oz (I stood on a bridge over it many moons ago), but the complany here have listed “Yarra Ridge Pinot Noir 2003” under American wines. Probably their mistake.