BRUNELLO’S NOSE KNOWS….
The Summer Solstice has arrived, and along with it the long hot days of sunshine, beach time, lazy weekends in the pool. This Summer we are going to focus in on the clean, crisp fruity grape of Sauvignon Blanc, that comes in many, many forms. Let’s dig back to the roots of the varietal and explore where it came from and where it has gone, and the many flavor profiles you can experience with a single varietal.
The Bordeaux Region of France, most famously known for Cabernet and Merlot on the red wine side is also known for the origin of Sauvignon Blanc. We must start here as in all things French and wine, this region is where the grape was recognized first historically. Its name most likely came from the words Sauvage (wild) and Blanc (white) as the light green skinned grapes grew wildly throughout Bordeaux- where it is also used to make the sweet dessert wine Sauternes. The Sauvignon Blanc grape was planted and thrived to the north of Bordeaux, in the Loire Region of France, specifically the region of Sancerre, where the wine has its own specific taste and style. Sancerre exudes lime and white peach, while Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc tends to lean toward green apple and passion fruit.
From France the grape has literally traveled around the world and flourished. Its second most popular “home” is New Zealand, where Sauvignon Blanc has a famous nose and flavors of grapefruit, melon and gooseberry. In the New World, California, and southern hemisphere- Chile and even in South Africa, flavors of cut grass and citrus blossom are inherent to the grape varietal. Here are few we recommend from our shelves:
Les Boursicottes Sancerre recently picked up a 90-point score from Wine Spectator. The famous Kimmeridgian Limestone and calcerous soil from the town of Chavignol in the Sancerre make this wine shine with the terroir of the region. 100% Sauvignon Blanc harvested from individual lots and then blended for a well-balanced classic Sancerre. I give it three bones!
From France we travel to New Zealand for an elegant expression of the famous Marlborough Region with Mohua Sauvignon Blanc. Named for the majestic rare bird that flies among the Rainforest in the South Island. The Wairau region in Marlborough is known for producing Sauvignon Blanc fruit laced with passionfruit, gooseberry and boxwood characteristics. The soil is nutrient rich with river gravel, and the wines are beautiful. This wine finishes with a hint of lime and Thai basil. I give it three bones!
In California, Napa is known best for Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the sister grape to Cab, Sauvignon Blanc, is rapidly becoming a hot selling varietal from that region. Provenance Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford, Napa Valley shows a sense of place in the first sip. Tropical and citrus flavors alongside subtle grapefruit, guava and delicate orange blossom. This wine is aged Sur Lie ( a process of leaving the juice in with the sediments and yeast from the pulp of the grape skins) which contributes to the rich texture. It has a small amount of Muscat and Semillion blended in to round out the finish. I give it three bones!
A new trend in winemaking today is aging varietals in used oak barrels from Whiskey and Bourbon and even Tequila! Beringer Brothers Tequila Barrel Aged Sauvignon Blanc rounds out our list of things to try for the Summer of Sauvignon Blanc. 20% of the juice in this wine is aged in an old tequila barrel for 60 days. It features the “Living Wine Label” an interactive label that comes alive with a cell phone app, and tells a story. The wine was created to keep with the spirit of the Beringer Brothers line of wines, and is bursting with aromas of citrus, herbs and a hint of vanilla. If you like tequila it’s something to try, there is but a whisper of tequila flavor but it makes the wine interesting. I give it two bones!
We have dozens of Sauvignon Blanc wines from around the globe here at Ed’s, these are just a few examples that offer the classic expression of the fruit from each region. Stop in today and see me hanging out in the AC, we will happily guide you through Summer wines.
By Brunello Giancola as told to CRBrown