Today is the 4th International Sauvignon Blanc Day so it seems highly appropriate to have a good look at what this ultra-fashionable grape variety is capable of producing.
From its origins around the Gironde estuary (Bordeaux and its environs) and its long standing history as the chosen varietal of the upper Loire (Sancerre etc.) Sauvignon Blanc has blossomed into an international grape that is planted almost everywhere.
Never has its popularity been as high as it is now and it shows little sign of slowing down. The most famous region nowadays -despite the continued popularity of Sancerre - is probably Marlborough, New Zealand and it is well represented in the wines below. However what you find here is a selection of what I believe are some of the best Sauvignon Blanc offerings in our stores from around the world.
At the easy-drinking, lower price level Chile leads the way and Karu Sauvignon Blanc €7.99 from leading producers Emiliana is a little stalwart, plenty of good, grassy Sauv
ignon aromatics, cool fruit profile but with decent weight. Up a notch or two and Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc (€13.99) shows off what Chile is capable of at a more premium level. Los Vascos has incredibly lifted aromatics, proper nettle/herb nose and lush fruit on the palate with just the slightest hint of tropical fruit; gorgeous wine.
Jump across the Atlantic and over to Stellenbosch, South Africa and here you will find Sauvignons that are made in a very lively, fruit-driven style, albeit a little rounder and less crisp than most New Zealand versions. Delheim Sauvignon Blanc €12.99 is a case in point, 100% Sauvignon in its aromatic and flavour profile with a lovely smooth feel to the palate.
But what of the cultural homes of Sauvignon Blanc? - Bordeaux and the Loire. Well in Bordeaux it is very often blended with Semillon and even Muscadelle and there are lots of little gems to be found here - particularly as it is often overlooked, being very much red wine country.
One wine I reach for on a regular basis is Château Freynelle €12.99; open, fragrant nose, instantly appealing but it is on the concentrated, mineral driven palate that this little beauty really excels. Move north and closer to the Loire and one of France’s newest appellations Haut Poitou is producing amazingly pungent, expressive Sauvignons. Les Petales Sauvignon Blanc is a revelation; incredibly lifted and nose tingling in style and thankfully following through with this level of intensity on the palate.
Further north Sancerre itself is never cheap but can deliver quite an experience. If you really want to treat yourself to the very best or need to buy a really special bottle for a Sancerre fan then it doesn’t get much better than Sancerre d’Antan from Henri Bourgeois (€40).
I have left the trendiest country to the last but that is not a negative reflection, New Zealand is undoubtedly the driving force behind the explosion of Sauvignon Blanc into the world stage. There is such a gamut of great Sauvignons to choose from here that I could list a dozen with ease but current favourite Urlar €12.99 (was €17.99) from Gladstone is a real winner. It has a lusciousness to it and even a slight creaminess but still delivers full-on Sauvignon bell-pepper/vine tomato aromatics and it’s organic to boot… well worth a try
However if you want to see New Zealand’s most famous region,Marlborough,at full throttle then Whitehaven’s top cuvée GregSauvignon Blanc - named after co-founder Greg White - is the one to reach for. Unashamedly big, opulent Sauvignon, hugely appealing on the nose and delivering masses of fruit on the palate, this is the real deal.
There are so many more great Sauvignon’s out there and no better day than today to try a new one.
Happy Sauvignon Day!