A Wild White Summer
Sauvignon Blanc, also referred to as just Sauvignon, is a dry white wine. Sauvignon means wild and blanc means white – appropriate names to define a fun summer wine.
Sauvignon Blanc is produced all over the world and rising in popularity as more and more wine lovers seek out wines that are lower in alcohol and easy to drink, especially during the summer months. The wine is a great alternative from beer and the rich oaky Chardonnay’s that were once dominating store shelves and wine lists.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape prefers living in cooler climates where they bud late but ripen fast than other grapes. The wine is usually dry, always refreshing, and produces a variety of styles, textures, and flavors - depending on where it’s grown.
The majority of Sauvignon Blanc comes from France, in the famous Bordeaux wine region and Loire Valley, where the grape originated. In the past decade, New Zealand and California have been taking the lead in planting new vineyards and sales.
Other popular regions are Australia, Italy, Chile, and South Africa. The grape can also be found in Central Europe, Canada, throughout the United States, as well as lesser known wine growing regions.
In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, light and elegant wine. Here the grape is often blended with Semillon, another French white wine grape, producing outstanding Sauternes – a sweet wine known as one the finest wines in the world.
The Loire, especially in the center of the valley, is where the Sauvignon grape shows some of its best qualities with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The area’s limestone, clay, and flint soil conditions add a unique taste to the wine.
In New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted grape. The first vines were planted in the early 70’s in the Marlborough region which is located on the northern part of the South Island. In just a short time, with its vibrant fruit flavors and high acid levels, the wine became a number one seller for the country and put New Zealand on the map as a world class growing region.
California’s Sauvignon Blanc stands out with many of their grapes growing in warmer parts of the state, especially in the Napa Valley. Fortunately, the fog and high temperature fluctuations cool down the vineyards enough to sustain the vines. The wines tend to have a herbaceous and often grassy quality. In the late 60’s Sauvignon Blanc lost popularity in the American market and Robert Mondavi re-branded the grape as “Fume Blanc.”
Over in Italy, Sauvignon Blanc shines in the Northeastern part of the country in Friuli, Alto Adige and Collio. The Sauvignon Blanc wines from these areas display excellent fruit and varietal characteristics.
Sauvignon Blanc is the number one export and money maker for Chile with numerous vineyards spread across the central coastline, the country’s best terrior for producing interesting wines. The wines are zesty, bright, and sold at a great value.
South African Sauvignon’s are also a great value and new vineyards are being planted at an astonishing fast pace. The growing conditions are perfect for the grape and they are also using it in many of their white blends, for which they are famous.
Most Sauvignon Blanc is made for early drinking. These wines were some of the first bottled featuring screw caps instead of using cork closures.
Sauvignon has distinctive aromas of grapefruit, gooseberries and herbs. The flavors of passion fruit, melon, guava, and white peach, along with great acidity and minerality make Sauvignon Blanc the ideal choice to pair with creamy cheeses, salads, shellfish, poultry, and it’s the perfect porch wine.
The following recommendations can be found either at your favorite wine retailer, restaurant, or purchased direct on the winery’s website:
Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Canterbury New Zealand
Located on the northeast part of the South Island this lovely wine has floral aromas and tropical fruit flavors that sustain a smooth balance with each sip. Serve alone or with appetizers and shellfish. $15.99
M Lynch Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Bordeaux France
From the region’s left bank this well priced white has aromas of green apples, grass and minerals and flavors of grapefruit, green melon and lime with a long lengthy finish. Goes well with smoked fish and turkey salad. $14.99
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2017 Loire France
From its native home, the wine is elegant presenting a pleasant fresh and clean citrus quality with mineral overtones. Creamy cheeses, chicken, and Greek dishes pair well. $19.99
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough New Zealand
A delicious light and refreshing wine opens up with aromas of citrus, mango, and pineapple leading to tastes of exotic tropical fruits, intensifying as you sip. Pair with fish and chips, fried founder, and grilled swordfish. $9.99
Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough New Zealand
The winery’s flagship wine that is very vibrant featuring citrus and tropical fruit flavors with a clean and crisp finish. Enjoy alongside salads, fruit bowls, and summer fruit pies. $15.99
Trinchero Mary’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Napa Valley
The first vineyard purchased by the Trinchero family in the Calistoga AVA. Aromas of tropical fruits and melon blend harmoniously with subtle floral notes. $28.99
Star Lane Vineyard Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Santa Barbara
From Sothern California, this is a wine offering fresh floral aromas and flavors of citrus, apple and green melon. Works well with Waldorf salad, goat cheese, and Mexican meals. $22
Gamble Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Napa Valley
Highlights are floral aromatics and tropical flavors such as guava and melon-like fruit with hints of orange zest. Serve with seared scallops and chicken piccata. $24.99
Pacifico Sur Esate Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Chile
Prominent aromas of lime and grapefruit blend harmoniously with herbs and floral notes. In the mouth it is soft, citric and refreshing to the palate. Excellent sipping wine before a meal or by itself. $7.29