This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080702.php.
Wine Focus - Sauvignon Blanc
As the Northern Hemisphere moves into the summer heat of July, it makes sense to aim our monthly Wine Focus at a grape variety that can yield wines with serious class and distinction but that also can be chilled right down to make a cooling summer quaff.
Sauvignon Blanc traces its native home to the Loire Valley, where it builds its reputation with tart, aromatic regional wines such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé (not to be confused with the Pouilly-Fuissé of Burgundy).
It's one of the two primary players (with Semillon) in White Bordeaux; and it's grown literally around the world, in just about every region where wine is made. It has found a particularly welcoming home in the Southern Hemisphere, from South Africa to Chile and Down Under, where New Zealand has made Sauvignon Blanc its trademark wine.
If a single word can be used to describe the grape's aromatic flavor, it might be "zest," evoking both a refreshing tartness and distinct citrus character. In many Sauvignon Blancs, the second word might be "catbox," or to be more socially acceptable, "boxwood," the striking aroma attributable to the chemical methoxypyrazine. Depending largely on sun exposure during ripening, Sauvignon Blancs tend to span a spectrum from bright and citric to "green" and "grassy," depending on growing conditions.
One of the most interesting factoids about this grape is the relatively recent discovery by Dr. Carole Meredith of the University of California at Davis that Sauvignon Blanc is actually a parent (crossed with Cabernet Franc) of Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that most people likely consider of significantly more gravitas than either of its ancestors.
To participate, simply bring your tasting notes, comments and questions on Sauvignon Blanc to the Wine Focus section of our WineLovers Discussion Group,
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Casa Lapostolle 2007 Rapel Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99)
Transparent, pale straw color. Fragrant aromas of peach, melon and grapefruit and a touch of a more characteristic Sauvignon Blanc "grassy" note in the background. Ripe and tart citrus flavors, perhaps just a hint of sweetness cloaked by fresh acidity. Relatively high (14.1%) alcohol adds a breath of heat in the finish. U.S. importer: Marnier-Lapostolle Inc., NYC. (June 30, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: The producer recommends it as an aperitif; I think aromatic chicken or seafood and fish dishes might better tame that high alcohol and acidity. It was fine with a summery potato salad made with wood-smoked salmon and Greek yogurt.
VALUE: Provided you're on board with the high-alcohol style, the $10 range is hard to beat. It may pay to shop around, as prices vary; Wine-Searcher.com shows it ranging from $8 to $15 at various merchants.
WHEN TO DRINK: Best drunk up within a year or two, while those fruity aromatics are fresh.
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