Summer is finally upon us and one of my favorite warm weather wines happens to be a good Sauvignon Blanc. Whether picnicking, backyard grilling, or just relaxing on the porch, Sauvignon Blanc makes for a nice easy drinking companion. From my Sauvignon Blanc experiences, there are three basic styles to choose from which I’ll talk about below.
The first style, and one in which I’m partial to, is Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which is usually fruit-forward in style, highly aromatic, and bursting at the seams with intense bright and crisp grapefruit, melon and similar fruit flavors with a subtle distinctive herbal essence. These wines, in my opinion, have a quality to price ratio that is unmatched, and the Marlborough region in particular is offering excellent examples at unbelievable prices.
The second style would be found in the upper Loire Valley (France), where Sauvignon Blanc has been planted for centuries. The popular and esteemed regions of Sancerre and Pouillys-Fumé produce wines that are tamer than that of the New Zealand examples, and offer wines with good racy acidity, fresh cut green grass notes, subtle fruit, flintiness, touches of smoke, etc. – some of these examples can be highly complex and have been known as possessing “cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush,” aromas. Do note that the smokiness is not due to oak aging, but more so the chalky soil, and is as desirable in a Sauvignon Blanc as the petrol nuances are in German Rieslings. Also, do not let the "cat's pee" aroma scare you away - these wines are excellent!
You knew California would play a role in one of the big 6 grape varieties, right? The third style sprung up in the late 1960’s when the late Robert Mondovi coined the term Fume Blanc during a time when the grape variety was not very popular in California. Robert Mondavi went on to produce a dry Sauvignon Blanc wine that was French oak-aged, which offered an elegant styled wine that was less acidic, more voluptuous, and creamed textured, which to me is more Chardonnay-like, however, is a very popular selection today.
Review: The Pearmund Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2006 is a culmination of the three aforementioned styles described. The wine is lemon yellow in color with good up front citrus-like fruit flavors with subtly layered signature grassy notes. A splash of Viognier is added for complexity and heightens the aroma, and provides a nice integration of soft tropical fruit flavors. The wine is rounded out nicely by oak aging that also imparts hints of spice into the wine. The wine is balanced nicely with good acidity and is the perfect companion to pair with shellfish, scallops, and other seafood dishes, yet pleasant enough to be sipped on its own. Try a bottle! $19
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- Stay tuned, Dezel visits Kent Marrs of Village Winery.
- Want to check out more Sauvignon Blanc notes? Visit the Wannabe Wino – she is on a serious Sauvignon Blanc kick and writes some good notes and where to find the wine.
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