The Wine Curmudgeon has never felt comfortable with sauvignon blanc that has been aged in oak. Too often, the oak covers up the varietal character and the sauvignon blanc ends up tasting like chardonnay. Which seems to be defeating the purpose of sauvignon blanc.
Plus, Souverain inhabits one of those gray areas in the wine business that often makes it difficult to figure out what its wine will taste like. It's a grocery store brand owned by one of the multi-nationals scrambling to shed expenses, so one never knows what the bosses will tell the winemaker about how much he can spend.
So I was not expecting much. But the Souverain ($14, sample) reminded me, as wines so often do, not to judge them before I drink them. It was much better than I thought it would be, with a bit of richness missing from most California sauvignon blanc. In addition, the oak doesn't obscure the Bordeaux-like sauvignon blanc fruit (less citrus and more citrus zest). Nicely done; serve it chilled on its own or with white meat dishes that have light sauces.