Jamesport_07ressbWhen I tasted this wine last week, I started a discussion on Twitter amongst the wine Twitterati about "varietal correctness." Feelings were mixed and a wide range of related topics were brought up, but most agreed that if a wine tastes good, that's the most important thing.

But, a few wise individuals brought up the idea that when one is pairing wine with a particular food, you should be able to predict, in a general sense, what a wine is going to taste like.

If you're eating fresh Long Island shellfish and open a Sancerre, you're not looking for an oaky, tropical fruit-dominated sauvignon blanc… which is a good segue into this review.

Long Island's style for sauvignon blanc is still developing, but I don't think that this wine, Jamesport Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve ($30) is where the future is. At least I hope not.

That's not to say that this wine is awful — far from it. But, it's not what I've come to expect from North Fork sauvignon blanc or Jamesport Vineyard's sauvignon blanc program.

Fermented in puncheons rather than stainless steel, the nose is almost chardonnay-like in its tropical fruit and banana fruit aromas with oak-born spice and light floral qualities.

Medium-bodied and round, the palate tastes much like the nose smells — ripe, tropical with plenty of spice and even a bit of noticeable oak flavors. To be bottled sauvignon blanc, it only has to be 75% that grape. Maybe there is some chardonnay in that other 25%?

There's good acidity, so it's pretty well balanced, it's just not what you'd expect from a Long Island sauvignon blanc. This wine is edging into Fume Blanc territory.

We can argue about the "varietal correctness" here all we want, but if I opened this with a meal, expecting bright citrus and subtle herbs, I'd be disappointed… and would probably open up another bottle of something else, especially given the $30 price point here.

Perhaps people are clamoring for a wine like this one, but I prefer very little-to-no oak in my sauvignon. That's the emerging style on Long Island and one that the region can do very very well.

Producer: Jamesport Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $30
ABV: 13.5%
Rating:    (2 out of 5 | Average)

(Ratings Guide)