The many faces of Sauvignon Blanc: A summer staple


Sauvignon Blanc is a quintessential summer white. It tends to be very fresh and crisp with juicy fruit flavors and has typically been made as an unoaked wine. These elements combine to produce a wonderfully refreshing wine with an affinity for food, particularly those we love in the warm summer months: seafood, salads, and the riches that come from the bounty of our garden, or maybe the farmers' market.

Having said that there are in fact more than a few styles of Sauvignon Blanc and many regions produce wine with a recognizable and distinct character that may overpower the efforts of a winemaker to put his or her stamp on the final product.

New Zealand - the grand Sauvignon Blanc success story!

With a very fruit forward style featuring pineapple, gooseberry, fresh chilies, grass and even some Kiwi, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has emerged as an affordable, appealing, easy drinking yet full flavored alternative to Chardonnay.

Oriel Mana Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Classically fruity on the nose with aggressive grass, chili, and dusty gravel tones followed by a very zesty, almost steely mid-palate with a fruity, cleansing finish.

South Africa is emerging as a source for great values.

South Africa is a source for steely, mineral and citrus styled wines though there is a concerted effort on the part of many producers to emulate the more fruit driven style of New Zealand.

Indaba Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2009
The ripe, lightly peachy aromas on the nose are followed by lean, crisp lemon, herb and chili notes in the mouth with a sweetness to the fruit that leads to a rather long succulent finish.

France: The reigning champ for complexity and finesse.

Sauvignon Blanc sprawls across the northern reaches of France's wine growing regions. These may very well be the epitome of Sauvignon Blanc, full of fruit, mineral, and floral aromas and with a finesse and balance that makes them compelling and complex world-class wines.

Sancerre Domaine la Croix St.-Laurent 2008
Bright and rich notes of minerals, flowers and green apples on the nose with a zesty mouthfeel that features ripe juicy notes of Asian pear, lime and grapefruit pith with excellent length.

California is staking a claim to its own identity.

California is busy carving out multiple identities for the state's Sauvignon Blanc but gone are the days of the weedy horror shows as producers embrace the style they can make from their warmer sites. Many are now utilizing a little bit of wood ageing to add depth and a creamy texture, producing soft wines with rich orchard fruit tones.

Hess Allomi Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007
A fairly large scaled SB that remains balanced and fresh, with flowers and key lime pie on the nose yet very focused in the mouth with rich flavors of nectarine, pink grapefruit and a creamy lingering edge to the finish.

For more information about the many expressions of Sauvignon Blanc please visit the Snooth forum to read an in-depth look at the regions and their wines.

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