As you may have noticed, marketing departments have created “days” for just about everything under the sun, and wine is no exception. In an era when tweets, hashtags, pins and likes are considered key to successful product and brand promotion, food holidays work especially well when it comes to wine.
With that in mind, this Friday, May 16, has been dubbed International Sauvignon Blanc Day. The hashtag is #SauvBlanc, and the goal is for people all over the world to taste and share their impressions of the wine.
Sauvignon blanc, an aromatic white grape, is produced just about everywhere and comes in a wide variety of styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. It’s a highly versatile food wine usually made without oak exposure (or not much of it). It pairs well with fish, shellfish, sushi, chicken, pork and vegetables, to name just a few possibilities. Because it often has an herbal or grassy character, sauvignon blanc is a natural wine to enjoy with local asparagus, which are now in season.
A typical wine store will have dozens of them from all over the world, and most will be under $20. To get you started, here a few that stood out from my recent tastings. Dancing Bull’s 2013 California Sauvignon Blanc is a big-production bargain that over-delivers at a suggested price of $13. It’s fruity and herbal with grapefruit and green apple notes and good complexity.
Another California wine stands out: The 2012 Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is bright and fresh with vibrant acidity and good balance. There’s a pear note and lots of citrus, especially lime and grapefruit, that combine in a memorable, small-production sauvignon that’s well-priced at $20 or so.
From France, Chateau Marjosse’s 2012 Bordeaux “Reserve du Chateau” is a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle (a classic white Bordeaux blend). At first the fruit is muted and white flower and herb notes dominate, but as it opens up there’s an explosion of pink grapefruit. At about $17, it’s a lively and exciting summer wine.
An interesting expression of the grape comes from northern Italy, Elena Walch’s 2012 “Castel Ringberg” Sauvignon Blanc from Alto Adige on the southern slopes of the Alps. This delicate and delicious $25 wine has a subtle floral note (think tomato leaves), a citrus core and a touch of cream that comes from fermentation of 15 percent of the wine in oak barrels.
Clearly, I’ve only touched the surface here; there are countless good sauvignons to be tried from New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, France’s Loire Valley and beyond. Enjoy them and share your thoughts on Friday. And if sauvignon blanc isn’t quite your thing, no need to worry. National Chardonnay Day is next Thursday, May 22.