Sauvignon Blanc 

If you like variety, the weather patterns in Boise should please. A dreary 30 degrees one day, sunny and 75 the next, then back to the low 50s with wind and rain. Still, there is no denying that spring has arrived: The trees are budding, the crocuses are up, and I'm starting to grow tired of the big red and white wines of winter. Time for something crisp and refreshing. Time for Sauvignon Blanc, just the thing for a sunny afternoon on the deck. New Zealand pretty much owns this category, the grape having put them on the wine map. They beat out all the California entries, but at least one surprise slipped into the top three. Here are the panel's picks:

2005 Chamelin Verdejo, Rueda, $10.99

Divit Cardoza, the wine manager at the Boise Co-op, suggested throwing in this ringer from Spain, and it proved a real winner. Sweet citrus, melon and gooseberry aromas stand beside nice touches of clover, white pepper and mineral. It's a beautifully balanced, completely refreshing wine with ripe lemon, green apple and papaya fruit flavors. The mineral carries through on the crisp, clean finish. A great alternative at a nice price!

2006 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc, Te Muna Road Vineyard, $21

The very rich aromas are dominated by honeyed peach and apricot with enticing floral accents. This elegantly structured wine offers lime, melon, peach and apple fruit flavors with just the lightest touch of fresh grass. There's a decadently unctuous quality to the palate, but soft citrus helps liven things up on the finish. A serious Sauvignon Blanc with the stuffing to hold up to those blustery spring days.

2006 Katy Lynskey Wines, Marlborough, $16.99

Bright citrus aromas with lemon, lime and grapefruit, along with just a hint of that kitty litter quality so typical of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The citrus carries through on the palate, grapefruit taking the lead followed by a nice touch of nectarine and white pepper. Supple sweet lemon dominates the long and lively finish. A slightly reserved, very appealing example of the quintessential Kiwi style. :

This week's panel: David Kirkpatrick; Cindy Limber, Bardenay; Michael Molinengo, Idaho Wine Merchant; Kevin Settles, Bardenay; Bob Tait, Tastevin; Leslie Young, Spirit Distributing

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