Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It was dark, drizzly and cold in Los Angeles at lunchtime.  Ahh, perfect weather for the middle of May!  I tend to shy away from white wine in colder weather, but we were at Itacho for Japanese food, so I thought I'd give the wine list a quick look-see.

Two wines down I saw "Tangent," so I stopped and ordered.  Tangent is a favorite of mine from the Central Coast's Edna Valley.  The winery specializes in "alternative white wines." Their list includes such offbeat varietal wines as Grenache Blanc, Albarino, Pinot Blanc and Ecclestone, their white blend.

In that context Sauvignon Blanc may seem positively ordinary, but Tangent's Sauvignon Blanc is not ordinary.

Tangent uses no oak or malolactic fermentation in any of their wines in order to let the fruit stand on its own.  Winemaker Christian Roguenant harvests the fruit in three stages and then employs a number of different lots throught production.  His aim is to bring the styles of France and New Zealand together in one wine.

The grapes for Tangent's Sauvignon Blanc come from Edna Valley's Paragon Vineyard.  The vines have been there since 1973,  which makes them among the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vines in the Central Coast.

The wine carries an alcohol number of 13.5% abv.  It has a metal screwcap - as do all of Tangent's wines - and lists for $13.

The wine was served ice cold, which I do not prefer because it inhibits the bouquet and flavors.  Also, the weather wasn't exactly reminding me of summertime, so a lightly chilled wine would have been nice on this day.

Its color is lightly tinted, and the nose not all that grassy.  Minerals are apparent in the aromas, the scent of wet rocks making a big play.  The taste - which I expect to be full of grapefruit - is more heavy with green apples and tropical notes.  There is a bit of citrus in the profile, but it's not in the forefront.  the acidity is good and the wine provides a nice middle-weight mouthfeel.

I had it with Japanese food and found that it went very well with the spicy tuna roll, a sweet eggplant dish and mushrooms with broccoli.  I wasn't too wild about the way it paired with the freshwater eel sushi, however.

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