Sauvignons of Summer

Wine Guys

The bright citrus bite, the refreshing fruit, the light floral aromas, the sunshine and lime colors in the glass; everything about Sauvignon Blanc sings of summer. From the cool, minerally, Semillon-blended whites of Bordeaux to the mouthwatering melon fruit notes of New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is grown around the world with stunning results. The grape grows well in all types of climates, is produced with and without oak-aging, and matches the fresh foods of the season with great ease in any of its variations. Whether cool and herbaceous or green and tropical, Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect white for hot weather. 

France

Sauvignon Blanc took its name from the French word for ‘wild’, sauvage. The grape grows quickly and easily and exhibits bold flavors. The French were the first to develop and grow Sauvignon Blancs and some of the best still come out of Bordeaux, from Entre-Deux-Mers, and the Loire Valley’s Touraine, Sancerre, and Pouilly-Fume’. 

2009 Domaine Des Allegrets Bordeaux Blanc $14.99 Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France

This wine is a fabulous example of Entre-Deux-Mers’ Blancs. The region’s name translates to “between two seas” although the seas in question are actually two rivers. The white wines produced here are dry and crisp with citrus notes and hints of grassiness, and Allégret’s is no exception. Blended from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, as most Bordeaux Blancs are, this light-bodied white has aromas of pineapple and apricot. Lemon custard flavors and a touch of bright grapefruit create a glass with ripe freshness and balanced acidity. It’s a dry wine that would be great to drink a little warmer than your usual chill to round out its flavors. Complement the Blanc’s crispness and serve alongside any fresh fish dish. 

2012 Chateau Castenet Entre-Deux-Mers $16.99 Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France

Another superb, younger option! This incredible white exhibits terrific minerality along with a full-bodied mouth-feel, exceptional concentration, great acids and a long finish. 20% Semillon again balances the tart quality with honey and floral notes.

The eastern Loire Valley holds the regions of Sancerre and, across the river, the town of Pouilly. The terroir contains limestone and flint, which comes across in their precision, world-standard Sauvignon Blancs. The name Pouilly-Fume’ was so-called because of the smoky mineral element the wine exhibited. Sancerres and Pouilly-Fume’ wines can be very similar, though the occasional use of oak aging, especially in Pouilly-Fume’, turns the wild grape into a different animal. The region of Touraine, to the west, produces similar blancs at outstanding values.

2011 Nicolas Gaudry Pouilly-Fume $24.99 Loire Valley, France

Infused with a powerful natural smokiness and balanced acidity; it shows a very nice freshness and balance. The aromas are already expressing themselves with intensity and elegance. They're dominated by nuances of white flowers, lemons, orange, and grapefruit, brightened by spice and a slight herbaceous touch.

2012 Vatan Mmmm Sauvignon Blanc $14.99 Loire Valley, France

Bright citrus, crisp green apple and pear, a hint of melon, with white flowers and minerals on the finish.

2011 Bailly Les Blanches Pouilly-Fumé $39.99 Loire Valley, France

Bright aromas of thyme and grapefruit lead to a lithe, juicy palate featuring grapefruit, citrus and mineral nuances. This is a particularly pure, understated Pouilly-Fume, free of any bitterness and persistently refreshing.

 

Austria

The small picturesque region of Styria in Southern Austria grows two things very well; wine grapes and pumpkins. Granite soil, steep hills, and cool climate make for taut and linear Sauvignon Blanc’s that can rate among the world’s best.

2010 Wohlmuth Sauvignon Blanc Steinriegel $39.99 Southern Austria

An exemplary wine for this region. Savory aromas and flavors; dense and spicy, with great interplay of cool minerals from the slate and warm, ripe fruit. This wine hails from the Steinriegl vineyard. A very steep (up to 78% incline) single vineyard located on high altitude with an aspect facing south-southwest. Grapes from this site produce wines with intense flavor and pronounced minerality. This vineyard was referred as one of the best single vineyards of the Austrian wine region of Styria for centuries.

 

California

California’s Napa Valley produces some of the best American wines. The hot days give way to cool nights as the valleys suck in moisture and fog from the Pacific. The climate is key to growing ripe, vivacious, incredibly versatile Sauvignon Blancs.

2012 Barrique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc- Santa Ynez $19.99 Santa Ynez, Napa Valley, California

Tart grapefruit, fresh green apple, racy minerals, and just a hint of tropical fruit with a bright lingering finish.

2012 Broman Sauvignon Blanc $19.99 Napa Valley, California

Aromas of grapefruit, lemongrass and lime zest with undertones of tangerine make this wine so inviting. The vibrant citrus is rounded out with tropical and stone fruits on the palate with a clean, fresh finish. The bright acidity in the wine will hold up to many different cuisines, but this is also the perfect accompaniment to warm summer afternoons.

2012 Calstar Cellars Sauvignon Blanc $19.99 Napa Valley, California

Immediately bright and lively on the nose, this Sauvignon Blanc bursts with citrus. The palate mirrors the aromatics; ripe, zesty citrus, dried hay, tarragon and green plum are balanced by a backbone of clean, refreshing acidity

 

New Zealand

Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand wines on the map and with good reason. The cool climate and ocean air make for blancs with the tropical fruit of Californians and the balance and focus of Sancerre.

2013 Isabel Sauvignon Blanc $19.99 Marlborough, New Zealand

Lush aromas of pineapple, Kaffir lime leaves, elderflower and lychee explode from the glass. The palate is rich, offering fresh green mango, passionfruit & guava. The finish is persistent and coupled with the classic Isabel wet-stone minerality, makes this wine extremely refreshing. With its balanced acidity this daring wine is delicious in its youth and a delightful accompaniment to those long, hot summer days.

2013 Lake Chalice The Nest Sauvignon Blanc $14.99 Marlborough, New Zealand

One of the best producers in New Zealand! A bright clean appearance with fresh lime green hues. Lifted notes of freshly cut flowering herbs and gooseberry and melon. This medium bodied, dry wine has a juicy and refreshing palate. Mouth-watering acidity is balanced by a long, elegant, mineral finish

Lilia Coffin works at Schneiders of Capitol Hill, 300 Mass. Ave. NE


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