Sauvignon Blanc (like malbec) can be found on many wine lists, but unlike malbec, is grown all over the world, with some famous wines coming from the French regions of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, and from the New World in New Zealand. Of course great expressions of this grape are found everywhere! The wine is typically high in acidity, and the aromas and flavours are generally all things green: grass, nettles, jalapeno peppers, gooseberry, and even “cat’s pee”. But pick the grapes early, preserving acidity, as overripeness will lead to dull wines. In fact, many producers in New Zealand pick in the middle of the night to keep the acid levels as high as possible. All of these lovely green notes, are due to the compound methoxpyrazine (pyrazines for short) while volatile thiols in the winemaking process can ease off on the green to produce aromas such as grapefruit, passionfruit, and in some cases, smoky-flinty notes. And then there’s the fact that sauvignon blanc is a parent (along with cabernet franc) to its more famous offspring: cabernet sauvignon.
For me, there is nothing like a chilled sauvignon blanc on a warm day! In my neck of the woods, I can’t really say that about today! But put the thought on hold, and when the sunshine comes, enjoy the glass of sauv blanc from whichever country you prefer!
2016 Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc– probably one of the better sauv blancs I’ve had in a long time from New Zealand, as the pyrazines are bit more mellow and the grapefruit and passionfruit aromas shine through without the “grassiness” being too overwhelming. Price is right too at only $21, you’ll want more than one!
2015 Casa Lapostolle – from Chile made by a French winemaking family, I love the tropical pineapple notes that shine through on this wine. Like the Mount Riley, well priced at $22.
2014 Roger Neveu Sancerre – from of the most famous regions for sauvignon blanc, the Neveu Sancerre sings with its laser sharp acidity, ripe yellow fruit, white flowers and granite-esque minerality. A superbly balanced, refreshing wine.
2014 Tiare Sauvignon – although Italy is not well known for growing sauvignon, its best expressions will come from Alto Adige and Friuli, both in the extreme north of the country. Cool climate sauvignon results in green pepper, lemongrass and gooseberry with high, searing acidity and a clean finish.
2014 Honig Sauvignon Blanc – from the family that only grows two grapes: sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon, this wine is one of the best of sauvignon blanc I’ve ever tasted. It also has a combination of some of my favourite components: family owned, sustainably farmed and solar powered. Lees ageing adds complexity to the wine, along with a small amount of semillon to give some beautiful aromas and flavours of beeswax, jasmine and lemon zest along with the token grapefruit and passionfruit. Go big or go home on this one and pay the $33 price tag. You’ll be glad you did…
2011 Les Hauts de Smith – this baby to Haut Lafite Smith is no slouch. White Bordeaux doesn’t get much of a look, but this 100% sauvignon is unbelievable and the lots of grapes for this white are treated exactly like the ones for big brother. Every time I taste this wine, it completely blows my mind; something that a sauvignon blanc doesn’t do often. With ageing in 50% new oak barrels, and bâtonnage for 10 months, these add superb complexity with lemon curd, white peach, yellow fruit and hints of fennel. Completely outstanding! $57
For this Sauvignon Blanc day, why not pick up something you’ve never tried before? Cheers, Salud, Santé and Salute!