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2016-05-01 / Wine Notes

Spring Into Sauvignon Blanc

Robert D. Richards, CSW

While all types of wine can be enjoyed year-round, Sauvignon Blanc is one varietal we often associate with warmer temperatures. As spring takes hold, the crisp citrus or herbaceous aromas that come through a glass of Sauvignon Blanc provide a refreshing change from the beefy reds that got us through winter.

Spring is also the time of year when many wineries around the world release the Sauvignon Blancs that were made from last fall’s harvest. Originating from France’s Loire Valley, the wine there hails from two key places, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. You’ll see those names on the label for, in France, wine is named for place rather than varietal. In the New World, Chile is a good bet for this wine, as is Northern California, especially the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Down Under, great Sauvignon Blancs can be found in Australia and New Zealand.

The other nice perk with Sauvignon Blanc is the price point. Very good to excellent Sauvignon Blancs are typically available at affordable prices.

In the United States, you’ll sometimes find Sauvignon Blanc marketed under the name Fumé Blanc. Don’t be confused. It’s the same grape. The name is part of the marketing genius of the late Robert Mondavi, legendary California winemaker. He liked the French wine Pouilly Fumé and decided that he would adopt a part of the name for his signature Sauvignon Blanc. Other winemakers followed that lead. Some ferment or age the wine in oak barrels for a short time, adding a bit of smoky or toasty quality, though there is no legal requirement to make the wine in any particular style.

To find which of the world wine regions suits your taste, try these Sauvignon Blancs, all of which are available locally. •SCM

Montes Sauvignon Blanc Spring Harvest 2015 (Leyda Valley, Chile)
(#5993, $13.99)
This wine comes from a cooler region that often has morning fog. The wine exhibits mineral qualities as well as intense fruit, such as grapefruit and pineapple. It’s a light-bodied wine that packs a good deal of flavor.

Hubert Veneau Pouilly Fumé 2014 (Upper Loire)
(#33846, $15.99)
This wine has a slight smoky quality to it. It’s grassy and shows hints of melon with a bit of citrus on the finish.

Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc 2014 (Sonoma County)
(#5703, $17.99)
Always crisp, always consistent, this wine exhibits tropical fruit, Meyer lemon and a bit of peach. It’s often on sale in the state store. When it is, stock up.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand)
(#4743, $17.99)
With great acidity, this wine exhibits notes of tropical fruit, citrus, melon and includes the signature New Zealand hints of freshly cut grass. This wine
producer makes a consistent quality wine.

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