Come to the Wild White Side

Come to the Wild White Side

The Wild White, better known as Sauvignon Blanc, is one of the most widely planted grapes around the globe, having acreage in almost every wine region in the world because of its wide range of flavors, depending on the terroir. The grape is related to Traminer, and originates in the south of France. Depending on the environment in which the grapes are grown, and on how ripe the grapes are at harvest, the flavor profile can range from fruits of lime, green apple, and passion fruit, to white peach. What makes Sauvignon Blanc unique from other white wines are the complimentary herbaceous flavors like bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry, and grass. These characteristics come from aromatic compounds called pyrazines, and the secret to its signature style.

If you are familiar with Sauvignon Blanc, more than likely the region most familiar is New Zealand, Australia, or California. Sauvignon Blanc is one of those “chameleon” grapes, taking on its surroundings. There are several other regions to experience and get to know. Old World styles are coming from France, with the largest plantings; Italy; Spain; and Romania. New World styles are found mostly grown in New Zealand, followed by US, Chile, South Africa and Australia. Sauvignon Blanc, with its wide range of herbal notes, pairs wonderfully with anything with like characters. A popular pairing for this wild child is goat cheese, with its slightly gamey character, and oysters are an exceptional pairing with French or New Zealand Sauv Blanc!

If you happen to be near City Vino this weekend, do not pass the opportunity to take a tour around the world of Sauvignon Blanc. Your tour takes you through New World New Zealand, South Africa and Chile, and Old World Touraine, France. 

From New Zealand, the Rubus brand was created by specialty importer Fran Kysela, of Kysela Pere et Fils, importer, to source & sell at value prices. All wines in this international project are hand-selected by Fran Kysela. Rubus wines are fruit-driven, the 2022 Rubus Sauvignon Balance, from Canterbury, New Zealand shows gooseberry, lemongrass, and boxwood, with fresh celery and bready notes on the nose, with true representation of quality. Continuing the tour, the 2023 False Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa’s vineyards are a mere three miles from the Atlantic Ocean, which allows for low yields, slower ripening, natural acidity, and a greater concentration of flavors.  Grapes are hand harvested, then a portion of the juice is fermented spontaneously with wild yeast, and the rest is inoculated. 

Heading into Chile, is the 2022 Misiones de Rengo Sauvignon Blanc from the Repel Valley. Misiones de Rengo, founded in 2001 in a small town called Rengo. In a country with more than 250 brands competing, for twelve years and counting, they are considered the best-selling fine wine brand in Chile. With the Sauvignon Blanc, Repel Valley 2022, the grapes are pressed in short periods, and once decanting has occurred, fermented in a very reductive environment (absence of oxygen). This year, you can enjoy a fresh profile of grapefruit and mandarin. Sandy loam soils of flat rock lend to complements of mineralities. 

From the Old World, is the 2022 Domaine Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc, from Touraine, France. This family-owned estate in Touraine has been producing wine for many years.  Patrick Vauvy took over the Domaine, tending to 25-year-old vines. On the slopes of the Cher Valley, Sauvignon Blanc is situated on stony-limestone soils that bring out its freshness. Touraine, though closer to the coast, is actually warmer than Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, and gives this wine more tropical fruit characteristics and pure intensity of a mixture of fruit and floral. Pair with a classic—goat cheese salad.

If you have always had the idea that Sauvignon Blanc was all grapefruit, hay and boxwood, clear the wine mind and travel around the (wine) world a bit, until you find one that suits you. If acid drives your palate, stick with New Zealand and Australia, but if you are looking for more tropical, easy going fruit characteristics, yet still refreshing and food-friendly, head to the Old World and Chile. Take a trip to the Wild White side and enjoy the many nuances of Sauvignon Blanc!

"Wine can of their wits the wise beguile; Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile" — Homer.


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