This year in North Texas we had a very mild winter. So mild that I think spring unofficially began in late January! However, now that spring break is here and spring is budding all over the US I cannot help but look forward to one of my favorite wine varietals: Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t get me wrong, I do NOT feel Sauvignon Blanc is a wine to be only enjoyed in the spring. Quite the opposite in fact, I enjoy a crisp fresh glass of Sauvignon Blanc throughout the year, often as a solace on the coldest days of winter. The reason I associate Sauvignon Blanc with spring is because typically it is a varietal that in my opinion offers “springtime in a glass” with each pour and sip. What better time to embrace a glass of spring than spring!
Sauvignon Blanc is a varietal that originated in France. Though it is most often associated with the Loire Valley due to its vital role in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, it is believed to have originated in the Bordeaux region where it is often blended with Semillon. And of course Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the genetic parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a relatively versatile and vigorous vine that adapts well to different growing conditions. It tends to ripen early, making it a cool climate loving grape (such as the Loire Valley); however, because it also has naturally high acidity making it adaptable to warmer climates such as South Africa and Chile.
One of the key aspects of Sauvignon Blanc is the flavors are never hidden. In fact, upon opening a cold bottle the flavors leap out and envelope the nose. Furthermore, the aromas tend to be easy to decipher. Typical Sauvignon Blanc aromas grassy notes, citrus notes often leaning heavily on grapefruit, lime and lemon zest, stone fruit, green apple, tropical fruits such as passion fruit and kiwi, herbaceous notes, and depending on its origin can have flint and pencil lead. It can have a creamy texture but it will be accompanied by a crisp acidity. I have always said more often than not, especially with new world Sauvignon Blanc, it is like “springtime in a glass.”
Sauvignon Blanc is also a versatile food friendly wine. Do not hesitate to pair it with poultry, pork, all seafood and shell fish, quiche, spring salads, sushi, veggie burgers, lots of green herbs including dill, basil, mint, thyme, chives and spices such as saffron and fennel, it is great with all goat’s milk cheeses, and lots of green vegetables, especially asparagus, finally pair with yogurt sauces, hummus and spinach lasagna.
As we move into spring I want to remind you to have a wide variety of Sauvignon Blancs on hand to enjoy with your spring cuisine, Easter, Passover, and simply sipping with friends on your porch or by your pool with a good book. This is by no means exhaustive but I have complied for you a few excellent Sauvignon Blancs to enjoy this spring:
Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014: light gold; inviting nose of grapefruit, lime zest, grassy notes, savory green herbs and a touch of flint; intense and bright on the palate with balanced flavors and penetrating acidity leaving a long, grassy finish; stainless steel fermentation, 13% alcohol; SRP $15.99; widely distributed.
Passagio Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Russian River Valley: soft yellow; inviting aromas of Korean and honey dew melon, lemon curd, grassy notes, touch of chalk; tastes like creamy citrus ice box pie with lots of lemon zest; lively on the palate with a soft touch of baking spice on the back of the palate, a really nice wine with crisp, mouth coating acidity in a light body and clean finish; one neutral barrel and one stainless steel barrel blended together, 13% alcohol, SRP $28. Order direct from Passagio Wines.
LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Estate Grown Lodi 2014: crafted from the Musqué Clone; soft gold; inviting aromas of grassy notes, green herbal notes and chalky minerality are met with Meyer lemon, tropical fruit notes of pineapple and kiwi; lively yet clean on the palate, a rich texture of minerality dances across the tongue down the back of the throat, crisp acidity leaves a mouth-coating finish; a unique wine that has all the characteristics of a sauvignon blanc with pronounced tropical notes; SRP $15; order direct from LangeTwins Family Winery.
Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2013: soft gold; lively nose of grapefruit, grassy notes, lime zest, and chalk; a pleasing minerality coats the palate with a clean acidity that is definitely there but less pronounced than the previous wines, rich and lovely with a really clean mouth-feel and bright, lengthy finish; stainless steel; SRP $18; widely distributed.
Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2015: pale yellow; dazzling aromas of white peaches, grapefruit, lemon/lime zest, soft white floral notes and honeydew melon are met with the quintessential grassy aromas and herbaceous notes; lively on the palate with layers of flavors and textures in a fun, zesty mouth-feel; a multi-dimensional expression of Sauvignon Blanc; 90% stainless steel, 10% neutral French oak, 14.2% alcohol; SRP $24; available online and through Rombauer Vineyards
Francis Blanchet, Cuvée Silice, Pouilly Fumé, 2014: soft golden yellow; if you are looking for the flint aromas of Sauvignon Blanc head to Pouilly Fumé; inviting aromas begin with pronounced smoky flint, followed by Meyer lemons, white floral notes, white peaches and a touch of grassiness; racy on the palate with lively layers of flavors and rich, bright acidity; each sip is mouth-coating with a long, elegant finish; SRP $24; available at online wine retailers
Each one of these Sauvignon Blancs were delicious. I enjoyed each one of them and would gladly drink them again. Perfect for spring weather, cuisine and outdoor enjoyment. I wish I could have represented Sauvignon Blancs from the entire world. See my article Ritual Wines: A Labor of Love for a delicious Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. Hopefully in the coming months I will have the opportunity to share with you a new Sauvignon Blanc I recently enjoyed from Fossa Mala in Friuli, it was incredible. Suffice it to say spring is here and you need Sauvignon Blanc in your glass!
My Song Selection: Perfect spring song paired with the perfect spring wine!
Get your own bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers.