Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes


Summer’s coming and you better be prepared. Sunscreen? Check. New grilling tools? Check. New shorts and fresh Tevas? Check. Refreshing white wine? I’m all out, how about you?

It’s time to reload on the best summer refreshers and when it comes to summer, my mind tends to wander to Sauvignon Blanc. It’s cool, crisp, mouthwateringly refreshing, aromatic and just plain fun. That is what the summer should be all about.

Among the most popular Sauvignon Blanc wines are New Zealand’s Sauvies, as they’re know down there. What makes Kiwi Sauvies so refreshing? It’s mostly the cool and sunny climate which translates into that crisp, juicy style filled with remarkably pungent aromas of grass, jalapeño, gooseberry and the ever curious cat pee!

All those aromatics are usually layered over wonderfully attractive citrus fruits, making New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc an ideal wine to pair with lighter summer dishes of fish and shellfish or even salads, as the vibrant acidity in most Kiwi Sauvies is more than enough to stand up to most dressed salads.

While the so-called “New Zealand style” of Sauvignon Blanc has gained widespread popularity around the globe, fueling the growth and promotion of this style, it’s not the only style grown in New Zealand. In fact, the increased global competition in the “NZ style” space has pushed producers to begin to experiment with styles that are less familiar in New Zealand, like the wood aged styles that are more common in France and California.

All this experimentation and the wide variety of terroirs in New Zealand paint a much more complex picture than many consumers assume, though there is nothing wrong with turning to New Zealand for your most refreshing Sauvignon Blanc desires. It’s good to know that the choices available to consumers are continuing to increase, particularly in light of the developments in New Zealand (maturing vines and the identification of particularly noteworthy vineyard sites).
While some of the wines from these sites really are performing on another level, many of which are included here, they may not be what everybody thinks of or wants when they go looking for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. After all, it is time for summer, a short season of simple pleasures and a bit of frivolity, so don’t shy away from some of the simpler expressions included here. They’ll add so much brightness and refreshment to your day that you won’t be able to help but enjoy them!

Photo courtesy of Kate Dreyer via Flickr/cc

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  • Snooth User: pbreikss
    317424 5

    Did you know that most New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are machine harvested, the machine having long stainess steel rods with a turn at the end, that "whacks" the vines and grape clusters, dislodging the grapes and collecting them.
    Does that mean that both ripe and semi-ripe and green grapes are harvested, some perhaps covered in the juice from leaves and stems? Does that mechanical harvesting procedure encourage making a "tart and more fruity and perhaps acidic" New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc?
    Henri Bourgeois, of Sancerre fame, produces at least 5 different Sancerre wines in France. They also have a vineyard in Marlborough near Blenheim, where the grapes are hand-picked, and the wine style produced is much like a "traditional" French Sancerre, much less tart and grapefruity.

    I'd love to hear your comments.

    Jun 05, 2012 at 5:23 PM

  • Snooth User: EBGB
    902774 24

    Grapes - as with all fruit - detach more easily as they ripen. Machine harvesters are calibrated for an appropriate level of force, and should be adjusted by variety. Yes, they pick up more extraneous stuff (MOG, matter other than grapes), cause damage to the trellising / vulnerable vines, result in different extraction profiles due to skin damage, etc.. But they have benefits which can outweigh this such as speed, night time picking, and other cost efficiencies.

    Jun 06, 2012 at 6:12 AM

  • Snooth User: Bigmac6
    851379 12

    Further today's machines are much gentler than those of the past and so not only damge the vine less but also have greatly reduced levels of MOG. By the way the rods a not stainless, possibly carbon fiber.
    It is very difficult these days to see what impact other than fruit removal the machine has had on the vines. The modern day Gregoire and Pellenc machines offere many benefits, including optical MOG and fruit sorting attachments.

    Jun 07, 2012 at 9:11 PM

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