These days, most by-the-glass lists feature some pretty popular grape varietals. The usual suspects are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A grape that has risen in popularity in the last few years is Sauvignon Blanc. It has become so in demand that it is now normalized as part of the standard by-the-glass offerings. I have all the information you need to know about it.
Sauvignon Blanc has more tropical flavors than Chardonnay and is higher in acidity than Pinot Grigio. If you ever wonder what the term “bright fruit” means, then take a swig of Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll be pounded with citrus, nectarine, green vegetable and flint flavors in a perfectly balanced bouquet. It actually is grown prominently in three regions: France, California and New Zealand.
In France, the main region known for Sauvignon Blanc is the Loire Valley. The areas to check out are Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. With juice from Loire, you’ll taste more of that flintiness with sharp acid. Fruit is balanced with subtle flavors of Meyer lemon and nectarine. I’m personally a huge fan of Sancerre. Try Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes. It’s great with an herb roasted chicken or a fresh salad with mandarin oranges.
California is North America’s most vast wine frontier. It encompasses so many different stylings in one state. Sauvignon Blanc from California usually has that signature grapefruit flavor and more tropical fruit. It also can have a hint of green bell pepper. Don’t be afraid of that descriptor. It works perfectly together here. One of the more famous from California is Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc. The “Fume” part means there has been a bit of oak aging that creates a creamy texture as opposed to a sharp, acidic one. If you want to try another, check out Duckhorn’s Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. It’s extremely tasty with tons of citrus flavors and bright acid. Try it with a cheese plate and some goat cheese with a little peach chutney.
The last area I’m going to mention is probably the region most people think of when they think of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s New Zealand, specifically the Marlborough region. This is considered New World to the core with lots of grapefruit, jalapeño (not spicy) and acid. This is really the style you see on most by-the-glass lists. The very famous Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is the litmus most are judged by. My suggestion to you is to check out Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc. It’s from Marlborough and very much delivers. You can always find a pairing for wines, but I think this one goes best with another glass. Enjoy it as an aperitif or during happy hour.
Sauvignon Blanc is an approachable grape. It won’t push anyone away by being overly oaky. Most can be found for less than $20. The Sancerre will probably be around $25-30, but are very worth it. Try a glass at your favorite wine spot.