Sauvignon Blanc is the classic wine of choice for anyone seeking a crisp, refreshing style. Don’t be fooled, however. Sauvignon Blanc is nothing like a one-note wonder. Its taste varies greatly depending on where it’s grown, showing a range of flavors from tart and flinty with green herbal notes to more opulent, expressive, and fruity variations. It’s an exciting grape variety to explore. I’ve narrowed down a few for you to sip on along with delicious food pairings to indulge.
Take a Sip of the Wild Side with Sauvignon Blanc
by Matthew Lorman
Sauvignon Blanc can be found everywhere from France to New Zealand and many other places in between. The word Sauvignon derives from the French term sauvage, which means “wild.” Yet despite its wild nature, Sauvignon Blanc is the classic wine of choice for anyone seeking a crisp, refreshing style. Don’t be fooled, however. Sauvignon Blanc is nothing like a one-note wonder. Its taste varies greatly depending on where it’s grown, showing a range of flavors from tart and flinty with green herbal notes to more opulent, expressive, and fruity variations. It’s an exciting grape variety to explore. I’ve narrowed down a few for you to sip on along with delicious food pairings to indulge.
Sancerre is a wine region in the Upper Loire Valley, France where Sauvignon Blanc reigns supreme. Sancerre tends to be crisp and mineral-driven, with refreshingly high acidity thanks to the cool climate of the Loire Valley. Flavors and aromas of tart grapefruit, lemon, green apple, gooseberry, and white peach are complemented by floral and herbal notes of citrus blossoms and tarragon. The high mineral content of the limestone soil lends itself to a beautiful, slightly smokey minerality on the nose. Sancerre is delicious to pair with a tangy goat cheese, lemon and tarragon roasted chicken, grilled trout, or a fresh arugula salad. These pairings highlight the bright, bracing acidity and minerality that makes this wine so legendary. Similar wines to Sancerre include those from the neighboring regions of Pouilly-Fume, Menetou-Salon, and Touraine.
The Loire Valley is not the only region in France to produce world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc. In Bordeaux, whites are typically produced as a blend featuring Sauvignon Blanc as the lead singer, with Semillon and Muscadelle singing back up. This is much like Beyoncé and the dynamic of Destiny’s Child. Bordeaux Blanc tends to express harmonious notes of fresh citrus, pineapple, yellow apple, and stone fruits complemented with undertones of honeysuckle, freshly cut grass, and beeswax. Bordeaux experiences a slightly warmer climate, resulting in riper fruit flavors compared to the versions produced in the Loire Valley. These wines are sometimes oaked. However, unoaked versions are increasingly common. For something bright and fresh, seek out a bottle of Entre-Deux-Mers, a wine paired best with oysters and sunshine.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a great example of a grape native to one area, packing its bags for a vacation, and never returning home. Sauvignon Blanc planted roots in New Zealand becoming a new version of itself and really living its best life. Wines from this part of the world are known for its high-intensity of flavor and aromas that can be accurately described as fruit salad in a glass. Notes of grapefruit, melon, and exotic tropical fruit, such as passion fruit, pineapple, and guava, combine with overtones of green bell pepper and jalapeno, making for a true burst of flavor. Bell pepper and jalapeno notes make this wine perfect for pairing with herbaceous dishes using parsley and cilantro such as tabouleh. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc also goes well with Asian-style seafood dishes, shaved fennel salad, and anything with avocado.
California Sauvignon Blanc
With France and New Zealand hogging the spotlight, it’s easy to forget that other regions throughout the world produce their own renditions. Today, California Sauvignon Blanc has progressed leaps and bounds from its old reputation that was synonymous with bulk production. The sun-drenched vineyards of California create an opportune environment for Sauvignon Blanc to thrive. Here, the grapes get ample warmth and sunshine. The perfect conditions lead to riper fruit flavors and aromas of ruby red grapefruit, mandarin orange, and lime. Tropical and stone fruit notes are also present, showcasing juicy white peach, nectarine, red apple, and passion fruit. Try pairing a Sauvignon Blanc from the Sunshine State with fish tacos, roasted chicken, or asparagus, tomato, and feta salad.
With the numerous styles of Sauvignon Blanc out there, the pairing possibilities are endless. Are you interested in exploring new types? Sign up for Concierge by DCanter to get connected with your own personal wine expert and start on your own personalized wine journey today!