Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes also called Fumé Blanc, is a grape that originated in the Bordeaux area of France. Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre in France is called Sancerre, named for the growing area from which it originates, not the grape itself. Sauvignon Blanc is grown around the world, in Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa.
The Taste of Summer
Sauvignon Blanc produces a dry, crisp wine that is perfect for warm weather sipping. However, not all Sauvignon Blanc tastes the same. The wine flavors range from grassy to tart citrus to sweet tropical fruits. Sometimes, it can have a mineral character as well.
Because of its acidity, Sauvignon Blanc pairs with a variety of foods, such as Asian dishes, asparagus, bell pepper, extra sharp cheddar cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese (chèvre), green-leaf salads, light fish, oysters and other shellfish, spinach, and sushi.
Below are a few recommendations that I’ve tasted over the past couple of months.
2012 Billsboro Winery Sauvignon Blanc
Sawmill Creek Vineyards, Finger Lakes, NY, $18.00 at billsborowinery.com
Winemaker/owner Vinny Aliperti blends his Sauvignon Blanc with 10% Albariño and crafts it in the New Zealand style, which means it tends towards vegetal, gooseberry, and passion fruit aromas and flavors. This wine has mouthwatering Finger Lakes acidity and minerality, as well as lots of tart citrus. The winery recommends pairing the wine with smoked trout and lemon-artichoke capellini. It is available from the winery’s website and around New York State.
2012 Grey Stack Cellars Rosemary’s Block Sauvignon Blanc
Dry Stack Vineyard, Bennett Valley, $33.00 at greystackcellars.com
When I first tasted this wine in mid-May, I realized this is one of the top five Sauvignon Blancs I’ve ever tasted. It’s fermented in stainless steel and then aged for four months in 50% stainless steel and 50% mostly neutral oak. It is bottled unfiltered and unfined, so it may appear cloudy in the bottle, but don’t let that deter you. This wine falls on the tropical fruit side of the spectrum, with aromas and flavors of guava, lime, mango, passion fruit, and pineapple. It is available from the winery website and is also distributed in North Carolina and select other states.
2011 ONEHOPE California Sauvignon Blanc
$18.00 at onehopewine.com
This Sauvignon Blanc is produced in partnership with Robert Mondavi, Jr. The grapes come from vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and California’s Central Coast. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel. It’s light, citrusy, and grassy, perfect for a warm day. Recommended food pairings include cheeses, fruit, halibut, light pasta, and salmon. One half of this wine’s profits are donated to save the planet charities. It is available from the ONEHOPE website.
2012 Passaggio Unmarked Sauvignon Blanc
Lake County, CA, $18.00 at passaggiowines.com
After producing Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, and Rosé in past vintages, Cynthia Cosco released her first Sauvignon Blanc this year. If you tend to enjoy a clean, fruitier wine, then you will enjoy this. Her offering is fermented and aged in only stainless steel. You will discover a multitude of fruit aromas and flavors, including citrus, gooseberry, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and pineapple. The wine is available directly from Passaggio’s website, and five percent of the wine’s sales go to the 100 Club of Contra Costa County, benefiting families of fallen law enforcement officers.
All photos courtesy of the author except 4th photo by Snooth.com.