Wine consumers are often confused by wines made primarily from a single grape variety. The bottles typically display the name of that variety on the label but there are a lot of them and more are created all the time as wine producers realize that such specificity can lead to higher margins and, perhaps, higher quality as well. Here I focus on New World sauvignon blanc, an excellent addition to any summer table.
Sauvignon blanc is a green-skinned grape variety from Bordeaux in France that most likely gets its name from the French word sauvage (“wild”) and blanc (“white”). A possible descendant of savagnin, sauvignon blanc is planted in many of the world’s wine regions, producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white varietal wine. The grape is also a component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Sauvignon blanc is widely cultivated in France, Chile, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Moldova and California. Some California sauvignon blancs are also called fume blanc, though this is often perceived to be a different type of wine.
Depending on the climate, flavors can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. When slightly chilled, sauvignon blanc pairs exceedingly well with fish and cheese, particularly chèvre, and is also one of the few wines that can handle sushi. It is usually consumed young, as it does not particularly benefit from aging, except for some dry and sweet white Bordeaux that typically have sauvignon blanc as a major component and can age 15 years or more.
Today’s notes were gathered from recent samples and at industry gatherings and mostly concern California offerings. I include my tasting notes at the end of the column in shorthand that goes like this: appearance (if relevant)/aroma/taste/acidity & finish. If I can find a domestic retail price then I list it (if there is more than one I err on the higher side), with “N/A” meaning that the wine is not generally available in the U.S.
BEN WILL BE IN CATALONIA, SPAIN INCLUDING BARCELONA JUNE 3 – 9
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BEN’S ARTICLE ON WINERY BEEKEEPING IN EDIBLE MARIN AND WINE COUNTRY MAGAZINE’S SPRING EDITION
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Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $22
Ltyel/goosb ginger/srch flint/hilong
Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection 2013 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $17
Paleyel/pricklypear pine/limeade sarsaparilla/hilong 16+
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $18
Pale yellow/grapefruit, pineapple, gooseberry/lime, sour apple, honeydew melon/hilong
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Regional Collection 2014 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $13
Sappy pine, honey/grfrt pinea zing!/hilong
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Icon 2014 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $22
Bright green-yellow/sweet pineapple, papaya/flint, ash, lime/hilong
Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California, U.S.) $13
Green-yellow/lime, tangerine/passion fruit, saline/himod
William Hill Sauvignon Blanc North Coast 2013 (California, U.S.) $17
Pea yellow/Meyer lemon, red grapefruit/Kaffir lime, lychee, passion fruit, pineapple/hilong
Edna Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Central Coast, California) $15
Medium-yellow/orange zest, grapefruit/lime, hay/himod
Wente Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Louis Mel 2013 (Livermore Valley, California) $15
Straw yellow/guava, honeydew, grass/gooseberry, lime zest, ginger/himod
Steven Kent Winery Sauvignon Blanc Lola 2013 (Livermore Valley, California) $24
pale yellow/marshmallow lemon peep/yellow squash/himod
Matanzas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc Bennett Valley 2013 (Sonoma County, California) $32
Pale yellow/lychee, green herbs/yellow pear, lime zest/hilong.
Matanzas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc Helena Bench Knights Valley 2013 (Sonoma County, California) $40
Pale yellow/white peach, flint/nectarine, white pepper, white flowers/hilong.
Trione Sauvignon Blanc River Road Ranch RRV 2013 (Sonoma County, California) $23
Greenish yellow/green melon, peach/yellow pear, nectarine/hilong
Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc Limited Release Estate 2013 (Napa Valley, California) $35
Greenish yellow/white peach, lemongrass/lime, grapefruit, basil/hilong
Grgich Hills Estate Fume Blanc 2013 (Napa Valley, California) $30
Pale yellow/kiwi, pineapple, lemongrass/white peach, flint/hilong
Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc Soliloquy Oakville (Napa Valley, California) $25
Bright yellow/white flowers, lime/grapefruit, pear/hilong
Hourglass Sauvignon Blanc Estate 2013 (Napa Valley, California) $40
Green-gold/boysenberry, flint/white peach, lime peel, ash/hilong