Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day!
We have a fun challenge for you today… more on that in a moment.
Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that truly deserves international acclaim. Noble grape of the Bordeaux, hero of Sancerre in Loire, strange invader of Burgundy (yes, there is Sauvignon Blanc tucked away in the Saint-Bris AOC), New Zealand’s international representative, Italy’s secret love, Napa’s other child…
We will guarantee you this: everyone has that one friend who would NEVER drink a Sauvignon Blanc, guaranteed, they just haven’t had the right one yet. With so many growths in so many areas of the globe, there are so many terroir representations not to mention all the different winemakers hands that finesse the juice before bottling.
Someone may not like the zesty cut grass and minerality of the New Zealand stylings, that is ok, have you tried the oak-aged Fumé Blanc stylings from California that resonate more like a California Chardonnay? Not a fan of the cat pee, musky lime, and asparagus of the Bordeaux stylings? Try the Italian stylings which can be a bit softer focusing on the citrus notes and crushed tomato leaf of the wine.
Sauvignon Blanc, while remaining true to itself, is a bit of a chameleon as a varietal wine. Yes, one can generalize (like with all grapes) certain profiles, but so many regions and winemakers really showcase their land and their personal art within each bottle!
Furthermore there are many other localized grapes that can be blended with Sauvignon Blanc to create regional styled white wines as well. Semillon is blended in with the whites of Bordeaux and replicated in the white Meritage wines of California. It is not uncommon, believe it or not, to blend Chardonnay with Sauvignon Blanc (Chardonnay’s rich buttery flavors develop from oak ageing, stainless steel Chards show their natural Sauvignon-like tendencies). In Spain, Verdejo is blended with it too.
Whether you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, or not, we challenge you to this today for International Sauvignon Blanc Day (or anytime in the near future): Get a few bottles, one from different places around the globe, or even different domestic AVAs if you don’t have an imports aisle in your local shop. Open them (with friends or family) and try a flight of Sauvignon Blancs side-by-side to taste regional styles and terroir expressions. Note how different each tastes, either subtly or dynamically. What is your favorite? Why? Any regions turning you off to the grape, and why? Furthermore, if you can, try a French region that blends with Semillon, can you spot the differences between that styling and a 100% Sauvignon Blanc? For the real cork dorks out there, try and find some that were harvested earlier and some that were harvested later. The younger pickings should show higher acidity and citrus while the later hanging fruit should develop melon and peach notes with a softer acidity to the wine.
Same grape, different regions, so many dynamic expressions.