What is it about Sauvignon Blanc that makes it so appealing, especially in the summer time? Is it the way Sauvignon Blanc goes so well with salads and other tastes of summer? Is it the notes of gooseberry aka “cat pee”? The jalapeño jelly? Grapefruit? Lemon lime? White stone fruit? Pine resin? Grassy herbal notes? Depending on what you prefer, and what glass you use, there is a Sauvignon Blanc for you!
In our previous post, we tasted two Sauvignon Blanc wines from two iconic French regions, Touraine’s Loire Valley, birth place of Sauvignon Blanc, and Bordeaux, where it is often blended with Semillon. The same evening, Sue and I compared them with four wines from other parts of the world, matching up two from the Southern Hemisphere and two from Sonoma to see what our palates would teach us about place. The following day, I tasted four more Sauvignon Blanc, three from New Zealand, one from Sonoma. Later this summer, we will be writing about many more from Chile, taking a deep dive into the different terroir there including these:
- Matetic Vineyards EQ Coastal Sauvignon Blanc 2020 / SRP $20
- Montes Wines Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2021 / SRP $15
- Casas del Bosque La Cantera Sauvignon Blanc 2020 / $18
- Viña Garcés Silva Amayna Sauvignon Blanc 2020 / $25
- Viña Morandé Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020 / $20
- Ventisquero Wine Estates Grey Sauvignon Blanc 2019 / $25
- Viña Koyle Costa La Flor Sauvignon Blanc 2021 / $18
We also wrote about four Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon here (paired with blue cheese burgers) and other Chilean Sauv Blanc here paired with some of our favorite foods. We will also be tasting and writing about more Sauv Blanc from France, exploring the variations based on terroir in Loire Valley.
That’s why we’re calling it the summer for sauvignon blanc!
So how does Sauv Blanc compare from here to there? In general, we find the wines of South America and South Africa to have more green Chile pepper notes, especially jalapeno jelly, and this is especially true of Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand SB has more gooseberry and pine resin, but also can show white stone fruit. Sonoma, and California in general, has more rounded fruit flavors with pronounced white stone fruit. They all tend to have telltale citrus notes, with high acidity, a prickly texture, and medium body.
But here’s a warning: for best results, use a sauvignon blanc glass!
- 2021 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa
- 2021 Tabali Talinay Sauvignon Blanc, Do Valle de Limari, Chile
- 2019 Balverne Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill, Sonoma, CA
- 2019 Crescere Sauvignon Blanc, Ritchie Vineyard, Sonoma CA
- Warm Goat cheese salad (recipe here)
- Grilled stuffed chicken breasts (recipe here)
- Grilled Asparagus
- Speck wrapped peppers stuffed with cheese (recipe below)
Popper Poppers Wrapped with Speck
- Your choice large green pepper
- Mix cheeses. Options include grated cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, goat cheese
- Slice peppers and stuff with cheese mixture
- Wrap peppers with speck or prosciutto
- Secure with skewers soaked in water
- Grill until preferred char
2021 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa
Importer Third Leaf Wines
In 1989, Mulderbosch founder Larry Jacobs bought a farm, and soon he partnered with Mike Dobrovic aka “South African Mr Sauvignon Blanc” to plant the first vineyards of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; he began making wine in 1992, thirty years ago.
A blend of four vineyards from three sub-regions offering three profiles, this Sauvignon Blanc was one third matured on lees in neutral French oak barrels for six months.
Color: Pale lemon yellow
Aroma: Key limes, lemon grass, galongal ginger, guava, Thai green curry, loamy soil, coastal sea grass, white flowers
Palate: Clean and fresh, very tart lemon lime, clay, roasted bell pepper, grapefruit, jalapeno.
Pairing: Tangy lime is so present on the palate when paired with food. The wine loves the salad making us think that the salad would be perfect in a taco shell, kind of like a falafel, The meal is so tamed by the wine (there are so many bold flavors, the herbs, the mustard, the garlic. Sue’s favorite bite with the wine as the stuffed chillies wrapped in speck on the grill. the rich flavors of the dish are a perfect companion to this wine.
2021 Viña Tabalí Talinay Sauvignon Blanc, Do Valle de Limari, Chile
Importer Biagio Cru and Estate Wines
Story: In Chile. calcareous soils where the rock is limestone are rare yet this vineyard is planted on an ancient marine terrace with porous, fractured limestone soil where roots can roam acting as a hydric regulator. Close to the ocean, breezes blanket the area bringing cooler temperatures so that this vineyard often is harvested 2-3 weeks later than other areas. Grapes are hand-harvested with fermentation in small stainless steel tanks at low temps to retain freshness, fruit and aromas.
Color: Very pale, platinum
Aroma: Jalapeno pepper, cheyene, red chili pepper, a little bit of potpourri, lemonade
Palate: Wow, were the words I kept repeating, jalapeno pepper and the flavor of red pepper without the heat. Very acidic, tart, earthen, minerals, such an interesting wine. grapefruit.
Pairing: Think Cesar salad, fish tacos with lime, elote. With food, the chili mellows and becomes more lemon, kind of like a really good margarita. So fantastic with the stuffed Anaheim chillies wrapped in speck and grilled. Very nice with the stuffed chicken.
2019 Balverne Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill, Sonoma, CA
Story: Since 1869, vineyards have been here, with commercial harvests for wine going back to 1907. The 710-acre estate offers many diverse microclimates, with rare soil and slope combinations. Read about my visit to Balverne here.
Color: Pale yellow
Aroma: Grapefruit, Pomelo, mint, sweeter herbal notes, anise, black licorice,
Palate: Grapefruit, butterscotch, seems like a classic California Sauvignon Blanc, easy to drink, grassy notes, a bit of mintiness, this is a wine for relaxation.
Pairing: This would be a great wine for a vegetarian having a pesto based dish. It fought with the overly ripe goat cheese brie. It loved the tomato in the salad so much. The salad and the wine were a perfect match. The tomato becomes so sweet. The warm goat cheese becomes a meaty element for a vegetarian and makes the wine an amazingly rich course.
2019 Crescere Sauvignon Blanc, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River, Sonoma CA
12 Barrels; 291 Cases
Sample for review
Story: Farming first. End of story. Cré·sce·re means to grow, to increase, to thrive. Joe Reynoso comes from a family of Central Valley farmworkers. Joe moved from farmworker to farmer to vineyard owner, and now makes wine with guidance from a consultant.
With 500 acres planted to wine grapes, olives, apples, table grapes, kiwis, stone fruit, pomegranates, citrus, herbs, trees, and wildflowers, plus they keep bees, Joe and Elena Reynoso means it when they say “biodiversity and honoring the land are of utmost importance to the Reynosos.” They sell most of their fruit and keep only a small percentage of grapes for their label, Crescere Wines’.
The label art represents the fractal and shows their respect for Nature: “We were drawn to the Fibonacci spiral, a fractal that is thought to perfectly represent natural beauty. A fractal is a never-ending, infinitely complex pattern that duplicates across different scales, created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Fractals are images of dynamic systems. Some would say they are the pictures of Chaos, of Beauty, and Nature.”
This 100% Sauvignon Blanc whole cluster pressed wine was fermented in 32% new French oak barrels and stainless steel drums with partial malolactic fermentation to give it a rich creaminess that makes it pair well with rich food.
Color: Pale yellow
Aroma: Grapefruit, lime, dill, Thai basil, pine. In a Sauvignon Blanc glass the dill goes away, the grapefruit is still there. There is a nice minty freshness, but honestly, I’m not fond of this wine unless it’s in a proper Sauv Blanc glass — and then it’s great!
Palate: Grapefruit and ponderosa pine come across on the palate, with a very lengthy and complex finish. Overall, this wine is fresh and clean.
Pairing: We both felt that this wine would be fantastic with Greek food. There is a lovely richness to the wine that would work well with foods of the Greek Islands. The wine was perfect with our warm Goat cheese salad. Loves the crunch of the goat cheese, the pine nuts, the fresh herbs, and the dijon mustard vinegarette. The chicken breast has all of the flavors that work so well with the wine. The pesto and the sun-dried tomatoes and the asparagus are a perfect companion. The flavors in the dish work so well together and the wine makes the entire meal shine. The complexity of this wine makes it ideal for food.
They suggest pairing their Sauvignon Blanc with scallops using this recipe. Yum! The wine can totally handle something rich like this. On a subsequent evening, we smoked Santa Barbara spot prawns which paired superbly with this wine.
Stay tuned and subscribe for more from the summer of Sauv Blanc!