By David Gettenberg and Anne Press of Englewood Wine Merchants
Sauvignon Blancs are distinct – very distinct – white wines. From lemon-lime to fresh-cut grass, Sauvignon Blancs have an unmistakable signature. All Sauvignon Blancs, however, are not the same.
Depending on the region in which they are grown, Sauvignon Blancs can throw a wide range of flavors and intensity. They are incredibly popular during the warm weather months because they are crisp, mouth-watering, and pair with a wide variety of seasonal cuisine.
Originally cultivated in Bordeaux, France, Sauvignon Blanc is now grown in many wine regions across the world. With so many wonderful expressions, there is a perfect Sauvignon Blanc for almost every palate – here are some of the most popular Sauvignon Blanc regions and a few standouts from those regions:
In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is typically blended with the Sémillon grape to create a balanced wine with mild notes of lemon-lime, white flower, almond, and melon with a velvety texture and lasting crisp finish. One of our favorites is the 2017 Château Graville-Lacoste, Bordeaux Blanc, from Graves, France ($16.95/bot).
We cannot tell you how many customers are shocked to learn that their favorite summer white, Sancerre, is actually Sauvignon Blanc! Sancerre is a region located in France’s Loire Valley. The only white grape permitted in Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc and it is the chalky soil of this region that produces one of the more elegant expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, with softer notes of fresh-cut grass, herbs, lemon and lime. And, if you can, seek out Sancerre from Chavignol, a sub-region of Sancerre, that is often referred to as Sancerre’s Grand Cru. Looking for a classic Chavignol Sancerre? Try the 2017 Domaine Bailly-Reverdy “Chavignol” Sancerre. ($27.95/bot). Enjoy this expressive beauty by itself or with the classic pairing: fresh goat cheese.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is incredibly accessible, characterized by tropical flavors of passion fruit and kiwi and backed by minerality and fine structure. Long, warm days followed by cool nights allow these grapes to show riper fruit expression while still retaining the classic lemon-lime core. Try the 2017 Auntsville’s “Single Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc ($21.95/bot).
While Sauvignon Blanc is often aged in stainless steel to retain the vibrancy and acidity of the fruit, a bit of barrel-aging can impart beautiful creaminess to the wine. A divine expression of California Sauvignon Blanc? The 2017 Hourglass “Estate” Sauvignon Blanc ($37.95/bot). Located in Napa Valley, it is one of the most mouthwatering sensations we’ve ever experienced. Unfiltered, it has a great chalky texture to complement the elements of lemon-lime, grapefruit rind, white peach and almond. Pairing? Try potato gnocchi drizzled with browned sage butter.
Of course, the only way to really know which style appeals to you most is to try them all.