Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sizing Up Sauvignon Blanc

Summertime. And the living is hot. (image from DKC Service)

Sauvignon Blanc always has the effect of a liquid air conditioner on me. One cool glass and I can feel my core temperature drop and imagine a fresh breeze on my skin.

It would be an understatement to say that there is a lot of Sauvignon Blanc in the market. Let's face it: there's tons of the stuff. It comes from nearly every region of the globe, and finding your way among the options can be a bit daunting. Happily, most bottles are eminently affordable, which makes it possible to experiment without facing bankruptcy.

I must confess that I have a predilection (especially when the temperature rises) for Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, which are the epitome of refreshment. But don't forget that regions closer to home, like the Napa Valley, make excellent Sauvignon Blanc, too. Check out some of my favorites below.

2009 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (available for $12-$20) This classic Marlborough Sauvignon blank shouts "citrus!" with abundant grapefruit and lime notes, accented with grassy nuances. In some vintages, this wine can be a bit assertive for me, but the 2009 was delightfully balanced and has very good QPR.

2009 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Icon (suggested retail $22; available for $14-$25) Another New Zealand bottling, the very good QPR Nobilo has piercing aromas and flavors of lime zest, herbs, and green tea. If Crawford shouts "Citrus!" this wine shouts "Green!" even though its not grassy. The wine is quite complex, and it would be interesting to see how this would pair with Thanksgiving dinner come November, so pick up a few bottles while you're in the store.

2008 Franciscan Oakville Estate Sauvignon Blanc (suggested retail $17; available for $12-20). This lovely domestic example of Sauvignon Blanc is rounder, with nicely-balanced notes of Crenshaw melon, hay, and lemon pith. Fresh but robust enough to stand up to lemon-grilled chicken or a rich fish like Halibut. Not assertive, this wine shows the Napa sunshine in its warmer fruit profile. Very good QPR.

2009 Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (suggested retail $14; available for $7-13). My final recommendation is another affordable New Zealand example with excellent QPR. In this bottle you will find focused Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit, and lime aromas and flavors. Very refreshing, and excellent with fish, salads, and other summer fare. Don't be surprised if this becomes your leading contender for a summer house wine.

Full Disclosure: I received these wines as samples.


Kara W. said...

Have heard a bit about the Kim Crawford. Will have to try. Thanks for the suggestion. Have you had any South African Sauvignon Blancs? I've heard a number of producers down there are making fantastic ones, such as Mulderbosch. Any idea?

Arnaud H said...

Don't forget about Lake County, a great region for Sauvignon blanc, with lots of under $20 options from Six Sigma Ranch, Gregory Graham, Ceago or Guenoc.

Till said...

Try keeping an Octavin box of Silver Birch Sauv Blanc in your frig for a sip of summer refresh. It's not too grassy and while not as complex as pricier Sauv Blanc, we found it tasty and very food friendly. Plus, it truly lasts for weeks in the frig and stays fresh from first glass to last!

The Whites said...

I'm with ya! Summertime just seems to call for Sauvignon Blanc. I love the Kim Crawford, probably my favorite "go to" summer white, and have also tried the Nobilo. Can't wait to try the rest! Yum!

djoliva said...

Thanks for the suggestions. These are great!

KW said...

My new fav NZ SV: Sole Beech! Softer than some, but still zippy.