Some gourmets say white wines are what one drinks while waiting for the red wines to be served.
As Miss Manners would say, this is incorrect
California’s Sonoma County is well-known for its red wines, and I wrote last week about 29 red zinfandels that won gold medals, including the overall sweepstakes prize, at the recent Sonoma Harvest Fair wine competition in Santa Rosa, Calif.
But the five-member panel on which I served there also tasted some wonderful white wines. Here are some to which we gave gold medals.
Incidentally, note the prices of the white wines.
With the exception of the dessert wines, which are expensive because they’re hard to make, the rest of the gold-medal-winning whites are $18 to $26 a bottle.
It makes it very pleasant to wait for those reds.
Sauvignon blanc:
•2010 Martin Ray Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley: aromas and flavors of white grapefruit, green peas and grass, very dry; $20.
•2011 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley: lean, flavors of gunflint and cut grass, dry and tart; $21.
•2011 Mill Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley; aromas and flavors of lemons and limes, tart finish; $19.
•(Double gold, meaning the vote was unanimous): 2011 J. Rickards Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Croft Vineyard, Alexander Valley: sweet, lush, viscous cut-grass flavors, crisp; $18.
•(Double Gold): 2011 Benziger Family Signature Sauvignon Blanc, Shone Farm Vineyard, Organic Grapes, Russian River Valley: aromas of camellias, white grapefruit flavors, balanced, crisp; $26.
•2011 Pezzi King Sauvignon Blanc, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley: floral aromas, crisp green-apple flavors; $24.
•(Best of Class): 2011 Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc, Clock Collection, Russian River Valley: tart flavors of celery and white grapefruit, very crisp; $20.
•2011 Harts Desire Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Claude Thomas Vineyard: Dry Creek Valley: crisp white grapefruit aromas and flavors; $22.
Pinot Gris/pinot grigio
•2011 Balletto Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley; ripe pear, vanilla and white grapefruit aromas and flavors, crisp; $18.
•(Best of Class) 2010 Clarbec Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley: green apple aromas, intense golden apple flavors, crisp; $21.
Late harvest (dessert) white whites:
•Winner of Sonoma Harvest Fair Sweepstakes in Specialty Wine Category: 2010 Pezzi King “A Royal Rot” Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley: rich and thick, honeyed body, luscious brown sugar and ripe peaches; $50.
•2011 Mayo Family Winery Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Kunde Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma Valley: sweet, viscous litchi aromas and flavors, rich and crisp; $30.
•2009 de Lorimer Winery Late Harvest “Lace” Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley: aromas and flavors of honey and pineapple, nicely crisp; $23.

Fred Tasker has retired from The Miami Herald but is still writing about wine. He can be reach at