wine education: Sauvignon Blanc; The Other White Wine
When you're stocking up on white wine, you most likely head for the Chardonnay shelf. A bottle or two of Pinot Grigio and perhaps a refreshing Riesling also find their way into your cart. But, don't forget the Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc challenges Chardonnay for popularity and versatility. While Chardonnay typically has more buttery and oaky flavors, Sauvignon Blanc tends to be more acidic, citrus like, and tart.
It is a matter taste and preference as to which white wine takes up the most space in your rack. To make the most of food pairings, however, it is best to have a variety of whites.
The green Sauvignon Blanc grape originated in France in the 17th century. New World vineyards are especially prevalent in New Zealand, but South Africa and California also produce their share of Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc means "savage white," and the tart citrus flavors live up to the name. The French versions, though crisp and refreshing take on more of a fruit bouquet essence than their New Zealand counterparts. The "kiwi" or New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are more herbal and smoky and have a strong key lime essence.
South Africa and California are also popular regions for Sauvignon Blanc with the final product dependent on climate and the production and storage process.
An interesting fact is that under the right conditions the Sauvignon Blanc grapes produce a rare and expensive dessert wine called Sauterne. The grapes need to ripen to almost raisins. Production of Sauterne is primarily found in France and only harvested when weather permits.
The light but tart and earthy tastes of Sauvignon Blanc complements food with similar flavors. Try it with goat cheese, green vegetables, and seafood dishes such as sole and oysters. A spinach salad with a light vinaigrette dressing and goat cheese makes the perfect accompaniment for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Whether you explore a new world wine like Easton Sierra Foothills with its key lime and melon undertones or stick to a European version such as Riposte with a more balanced bouquet and stronger acidity, you'll discover Sauvignon Blanc adds a new dimension to your wine collection.
For more information on Sauvignon Blanc contact us at (212) 725-6516.
- Adam Linet