Today is an exciting day for Star Wars fans, Sauvignon Blanc drinkers, and obscure holiday aficionados! May the fourth is considered the official Star Wars Day, and the first Friday of May has been deemed as Sauvignon Blanc Day by the New Zealand Wine Association. In an effort to unite wine nerds and sci-fi enthusiasts across the galaxies, I worked with a friend to create these amazing Stars Wars and wine mash-up scenes. In between photo shoots and lightsaber battles, I was busy reviewing the different styles of Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is grown around the world, but in each location, this aromatic and zesty grape takes on different qualities. To help break it down, I’ve put together this handy chart with common flavor profiles. 🤓
As you prepare for the festivities of the day, here are a couple of quick buying tips… Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (especially Marlborough) and the Loire Valley (especially Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé) have become very trendy in the past few years. These are classic and delicious styles, so their popularity is well deserved. However, if you are looking for a bargain, expanding your search to lesser know regions can make your purchase a bit easier on the wallet. If you are looking for Sauvignon Blanc in the lean, mineral style of Sancerre, you might try something from a neighboring appellation in the Loire Valley, such as Touraine, Menetou-Salon, Reuilly, or Quincy. If you prefer the lush fruit character of NZ, perhaps give an Italian or Chilean bottle a try. Whatever the region or style, I hope that you can enjoy a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc on this momentous day, and may the force be with you!
Photo credits and many thanks to Josh Horowitz.
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of cruising down the Loire River without leaving NYC at the Spring to Loire event.
There are four major sub-regions within the Loire Valley of France: Pays Nantais, Anjou-Saumur, Touraine, and Central Vineyards.
Pays Nantais is known almost exclusively for Muscadet wine, which is dry white wine made from the grape called Melon de Bourgogne. The wine is often aged sur lie (French for “on the lees”) and refers to the practice of keeping the wine in contact with the dead yeast to add more body and richness to the wine.
Vineyards in Anjou-Saumur are most well-known for Chenin Blanc and rosé wines. There are many AOPs (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) within Anjou-Saumur, and these are some of the most prominent:
- Rosé d’Anjou AOP: slightly off-dry rosé wines, with lots of berry flavors, usually made from Grolleau and Cabernet Franc.
- Savennières and Jasnières AOPs: dry Chenin Blanc wines.
- Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume AOPs: sweet Chenin Blanc wines
- Crémant de Loire AOP: sparkling wine made primarily from Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.
Continuing along the river, we come across the Touraine AOC, where we find crisp, mineral Sauvignon Blancs. However, Vouvray is an AOC within Touraine, which is famous for Chenin Blanc wines that range from sec (dry) to moelleux (sweet). Chinon and Bourgueil are red appellations found in Touraine that focus on Cabernet Franc.
Finally the Central Vineyards, which are most famous for Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. These Sauvignon Blancs have become very popular, and the price will reflect that. However, you can often find similar wines in neighboring AOPs such as Menetou-Salon, Reuilly, and Quincy at a better price point. Pinot Noir is also grown in this area. I was especially impressed by several of the Sancerre and Menetou-Salon Pinot Noirs, which had really nice minerality balanced out with lovely aromas of cherry and dried leaves.
With so many excellent and varied wines coming out of the Loire Valley, it was a lovely tasting event to welcome in the spring weather.
The first Friday in May is International Sauvignon Blanc day, so here’s a little background to help you prepare for the festivities.
Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape that originated in France, where it is still widely planted in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux . However, it has also become popular in many New World wine regions, such as Chile, South Africa, and California, but especially New Zealand, where it has become their most widely planted grape.
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry, white wine, with high acidity. It is often described as crisp and refreshing, and it is one of my favorite wines for summer. I find Sauvignon Blanc easy to drink on its own, but with its herbal and mineral qualities, it also makes an excellent pairing for fresh vegetables, salads, fish/seafood, sushi, and raw oysters.
Common fruit flavors for Sauvignon Blanc are lime (and other citrus), honeydew melon, green apple, and peach. Additionally, Sauvignon Blanc is known for strong non-fruit flavors such as fresh grass, bell pepper, and chalky minerals.
Producer: Di Calla
Region: Venezia, Italy
Grape Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
Pairing: Pizza and a hot summer night! This wine hit the spot on a hot summer evening, but didn’t really have much of a flavor profile. The acidity gave it a refreshing crispness, but the aromas and flavors were all quite light.
Brightness: Day Bright
Scent: Floral and Apricot
Flavors: Melon, Apricot, hint of something floral
Finish: Medium (4-5 sec)