In 2003, Sonoma chef John Ash, Mendocino-based winemaker and educator John Buechsenstein, and restaurateur Tom Meyer joined together with former Fetzer Vineyards president and winemaker Paul Dolan to establish Sauvignon Republic. The goal was to make classic Sauvignon Blanc from grapes sourced from around the world. “I like the dynamics of partnerships,” Dolan said. “It is not about running my own show and allows me to use my creative side.”
The first Sauvignon Republic release was from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma, northeasat of Santa Rosa. A wine from Marlborough, New Zealand, was added to the portfolio in 2004, and a Stellenbosch, South Africa, Sauvignon Blanc joined the lineup in 2005. In 2007 came a Potter Valley wine from Mendocino.
Somewhere along the line, the partners seem to have lost interest in the project. Whether they simply abandoned the name or sold it, Sauvignon Republic is now only available at Trader Joe’s, and only comes from Marlborough, New Zealand. Perhaps this value wine will find a broader audience in its current home.
Sauvignon Republic Sauvignon Blanc 2006
This one of the best-structured Savignon Blancs I’ve had in recent memory, and a bargain at the price. It shows a very pale straw color, and tastes of grapefruit, passion fruit, and guava. The grassiness and green herbs typical of Sauvignon Blanc is only hinted at here, and that’s a good thing. Its surprising richness and medium body is balanced with just the right amount of acidity. (This wine is the original Russian River Valley effort, not the current one from New Zealand.)
Pair this up with any food that would go with a bright citrusy wine, like a chicken stir fry with plenty of basil, pad thai, or swordfish steaks in a light cream sauce.
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