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Recession Refreshment: Meet John B.

Johnb Meet John B. Exotic foreign type (he's from South Africa!) -- White, and on the young side, with a light build, and racy personality. The perfect companion for a quiet dinner at home (he loves Indian and Lebanese), but always down for a party. John B. will entertain groups of any size, so invite your friends. Though adventurous, John B. is also traditional, and will certainly make a good impression on your parents this holiday season. Non-judgmental, discreet, and cheap, John B. will take on any and all callers. Sound like your kind of guy? Read on for details...

Sorry ladies and gents, but John B., though available, is not a man, but a wine (I know, right? I totally fooled you!). Nevertheless, the Rietvalli 'John B.' Sauvignon Blanc / Colombar 2008 is a hell of a catch. Made with 60% of the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc -- which grows well in the country's southwest -- John B. is blended with 40% of the lesser know Colombar. Know as 'Colombard' in France and the US, this grape is heavily planted for its productivity and ample acidity, and is a primary ingredient in both Armagnac and Cognac. Reliable, and most importantly, cheap, this grape is also a frequent ingredient in box and jug wines, where it is very rarely featured on the label.

In John B., the Colombar's natural acidity and straw notes shine through winningly. This pretty, pale straw colored wine displays notes of pineapple, lemon zest, and dried grass on the nose. It is very dry on the attack, starting out with tart acid, which quickly evolves into clementine, pear, and peppery flavors. The finish is tangy and zippy, with those citrus qualities continuing to dominate the surprisingly lengthy finish.

Seem worth checking out? Well, don't take my word for it -- the John B. was just ranked #5 in Wine Enthusiast Magazine's "Best Buys of 2009" list. Here is what editor Susan Kostrzewa had to say:

Fruity, floral and feminine, this cheerful white blends Sauvignon Blanc and Colombar. On the nose—lemon zest, minerals and tropical fruit—and on the palate, fruity but crisp citrus flavors are balanced by fresh acidity. Want a go-to summer white for everything from grilled seafood to Indian cuisine? Check this out. (88 Points)

I picked this one up at Potomac Wines and Spirits for a mere $5.99, and according to their website, Calvert Woodley has it for the same price. This wine, though not terribly wintry, is a great match with lighter fare, like the aforementioned Indian, fish, salads, lighter chicken dishes, and almost anything spicy.


Brandon Green

At that price it really is a great buy!

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