By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor


There is more chardonnay planted on Long Island than any other white grape, but those aren't the wines that excite me most — not by a long shot.

If I had the money to buy and plant a vineyard right now, my white wine program would be heavy on sauvignon blanc. It's the white grape that shows the most consistent promise here, is one that winemakers are doing great things with today, and a grape that I expect even better things from in the future.

For many years and through winemaking changes, I've enjoyed the sauvignon blanc at Jamesport Vineyards, where the Goerler family has been growing grapes for decades. From year-to-year there has been some inconsistency in style, but Jamesport is still a clear leader in local sauvignon blanc.

Jamesport Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($24) is extremely tropical on the nose — mango, green papaya, pineapple — with hints of kiwi, grapefruit and green fig.

Medium-to-full bodied, the palate balances ripe richness with fresh acidity. Pineapple and mangoes lead the way, framed by that acidity and layered with melon, fig, understated herb notes and just a little flinty minerality.

The finish shows nice length with a little kiwi-melon that finishes clean with zesty citrus.

Producer: Jamesport Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $24*
ABV: 13.5%
Rating:   88

(*Ratings Guide)