Nothing screams summer better than a cold, crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape is green-skinned and was originally planted by our friends in France. The wine is very light in color and often tastes of citrus, sort of grapefruity with hints of lemon and lime, and pairs perfectly with all the shellfish you’re having this summer.
But like most grapes, the region determines its taste. Plant a Sauvignon Blanc grape in three different places and you’ll get three different glasses of wine.
And since it’s planted almost everywhere these days, the Sauvignon Blanc aisle at your local wine store can be a tad overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here to help you through the confusion! We picked the three biggest Sauvignon Blanc regions and thought we would offer some (very loose) tasting guidelines to give you some direction — and help you get to your glass of wine faster.
So read on before you go shopping. (stop here for email and link to full story on site here)
New Zealand is often associated with Sauvignon Blanc because it’s the most planted grape. Sauvignon Blancs from NZ, Marlborough in particular, have similar qualities. You’ll be able to taste the grapefruit and lime zest. You’ll get some grassy notes and some herbaceousness. And since New Zealand is a big ol’ island, it’s no surprise this wine pairs perfectly with fish.
The village of Sancerre is a hilltop town, practically in the center of France, overlooking the Loire River (again, water…). A ton of Sauvignon Blanc is grown here, but remember, the French put the village on the bottle, not the grape, like we do. So when you see “Sancerre” on a bottle, know that refers to a place.
But also know that you’ll be getting a Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre has less of those grassy notes but more melon and minerality.
Oh — and goat cheese and Sancerre might be God’s perfect pairing (just saying!)
You’ll get much more fruit when you smell and taste a Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. It’s vibrant, has less minerality and grassiness, but more of that tropical fruit.
While a Sancerre often calls for oysters (or goat cheese…or just food), a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc can be just perfect on its own.
So try all three different styles and let us know what you like.
And while there are some Sauvignon Blancs can get pricey, know that you can find tons of great ones for around $20.
Like the ones below.
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand, $13
Zesty, crisp, pale straw green. Great vintage for NZ.
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2014, Loire, France, $24
Fresh, clean and tons of acidity. Dry and elegant.
Round Pond, Napa Valley, California, $24
One of our weekly suggestions. Tropical fruit with a hint of minerality.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.