New Zealand Winegrowers will be co-ordinating a series of events on May 6 to mark the seventh International Sauvignon Blanc Day – billed as a global social media wine tasting. Although this is another ‘international’ campaign to highlight a certain country’s take on the varietal, we thought we would elaborate a little on the grape and its taste profile.
UPDATE: It looks like this year the date has moved from April to the new ‘official’ date for the festival which is now the last Friday in May. You can search twitter for the #SauvBlanc hashtag for more (often random) insights.
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that owes much of its popularity to winemakers in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France. The Sauvignon Blanc taste is very different from other white wines, like Chardonnay, because of its green and herbaceous flavours. The name Sauvignon Blanc means “Wild White” (Savage White) and the grape is related to Traminer with origins in the South of France. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted wine grapes in the world and because of this it has a wide range of styles and flavours.
If you prefer your content bite-sized, here’s a great introduction to Sauvignon Blanc from Wine Training TV. We’ll pick up our article after these messages …
(Courtesy of Wine Folly)
The primary fruit flavours of Sauvignon Blanc are lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. Depending on how ripe the grapes are when the wine is made, the flavour will range from zesty lime to flowery peach. What makes Sauvignon Blanc unique from other white wines are its other herbaceous flavours like bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry and grass. These flavours come from aromatic compounds called pyrazines and are the secret to Sauvignon Blanc’s taste.
Go Green. Sauvignon Blanc with its herbaceous notes pairs well with similar green herbs. If it has parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro or mint, chances are Sauvignon Blanc will make a great pairing.
There is also one classic pairing of Sauvignon Blanc that started in the Loire Valley. Close to Sancerre there is a goat cheese produced called Crottin de Chavignol and it has an international reputation as an outstanding stinky-creamy cheese. A bite of Crottin with a splash of Sauvignon Blanc is considered a classic perfect pairing.
White meats including Chicken, Pork Chop and Turkey. Fish including Tilapia, Sea Bass, Perch, Sole, Haddock, Trout, Cod, Halibut, Snapper, Mussels, Crab, Lobster, and Clams.
Spices and Herbs
Green herbs including Parsley, Basil, Mint, Tarragon, Thyme, Fennel, Dill, Chives, and Rosemary. Spices including White Pepper, Coriander, Fennel, Turmeric, and Saffron.
Again, you find a lot of these spices in Lebanese cuisine, so Sauvignon Blanc is a natural choice.
Look for softer more briny and sour cheeses like Goat’s milk cheese, Yoghurt, and Crème fraîche.
Vegetables & Vegetarian Fare
Sauté green veggies or mix vegetables in more fatty vegetarian dishes so that the acidity of the wine shines through. Here are some example dishes for inspiration: Asparagus quiche, cucumber dill yoghurt salad, green hummus, white bean casserole with courgettes and white lasagne.
Meejana’s Sauvignon Blanc
J Bouchon; Reserva 2015 (Chile)
A lovely fresh, zippy style from 25 year old vines and one of the oldest family estate in Chile. A supple and refreshing, pure and slightly spicy wine with citrus fruits and herbs on the nose and palate. Mineral notes add to its elegance. It is light, unoaked, with good acidity, freshness and excellent balance.
Sancerre; Chene du Roy 2014 (France)
A classic Sancerre with great minerality and lots of length.
Didier Dagueneau; Blanc Fume de Pouilly 2009 (France)
The legendary winemaker tragically passed in 2008 in a microlight accident, but his son continues the outstanding work with wonderfully pure and intense wines. Released in small batches, we are exceptionally pleased and lucky to have secured a small allocation of this great wine. This smells deliciously of elder flower white peach, and cassis. Vividly peachy and with rock-licking minerality, nettle and grapefruit lend brightness in a long, luscious, vibrant finish that also incorporates rich, saline oyster liqueur and oyster meat-like elements.
Sauvignon Blanc appears in a number other wines as a blend with other varietals: Heritage Blanc de Blanc (with Chardonnay and Viognier), Ksara Blanc de Blancs (with Semillon and Chardonnay), Bargylus Blanc (with Chardonnay) & Bandol Blanc (with Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc).