Sauvignon blanc can range from tart and tropical to vegetal and green peppery, which is why it's a love/hate wine varietal for some people. Just in time for the long weekend, we tried a number of bottles that ran the gamut. Here are six that we think are worth picking up this season for barbecues, picnics, and outdoor dining.
I tried this bottle in the middle of the day, when the tropical aroma and perspirating label enticed my palate. I opened the twist-off bottle to find that recognizable passion-fruit scent released into the air; the flavor mirrored the bouquet. Like a tall, chilly glass of lemonade, this Sauvignon Blanc finished tart, crisp, and refreshing, with a numbing spiciness on the tongue that reminded me of fresh pineapple.
I tend to prefer a rich, oaky, and buttery Chardonnay, but this particular Sauvignon Blanc has my vote for patio drinking, on those days when the temperature remains high in the triple digits even into 8 p.m. Its dry, tart notes are stimulating and won't leave you in a heady wine fog. I'm apt to pair the wine with just about any cuisine calling for an acidic wash-down, from sticky, sweet Hawaiian barbecue to spicy Indian food.
I asked wine buyer Carlo Wismer of San Francisco's The Jug Shop to talk shop about one of the New World's most popular white wines. He offered his thoughts on what makes New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc so popular; see them when you keep reading.
It's from New Zealand and has a screw-cap top, but it's delightful, complex, and easy to drink. It's the type of wine that after one sip, you can't exactly note the flavors, so you take another sip and another, until the whole glass has somehow quickly disappeared. It's a super dry Sav Blanc with a full body, tropical nose, and clean young taste.
Although I drank it solo, it would pair well with seafood dishes and tangy cheeses. I tried this wine at a tasting and definitely have plans to seek it out and enjoy it at home. What's your favorite Sauvignon Blanc?
Do you like Sav Blancs from New Zealand?
Have you enjoyed any memorable Sauvignon Blancs recently?
A grocer at Trader Joe's recommended Kim Crawford to me, calling it "the standard" for New Zealand Sauv Blanc, and I have to agree with her. Its innocent straw color is deceptive; one sip reveals an intense, concentrated wine with grass, green apple, pear, and guava notes. The finish is off-dry, but leaves a memorable, lingering acidity at the back of the tongue.
For $15, an everyday white doesn't get much better than this. Have you ever tried Kim Crawford? What's your go-to white?
I was surprised anything so young could be this good. It smelled like passionfruit, with a hint of guava, and on first sip, was slightly effervescent yet creamy at the same time. It ended with a tart finish. As time passed, notes of pear seemed to take over on the nose and the front of the palate.
I love wines that evolve right before my eyes as I'm drinking them. Have you ever had a similar experience?
Produced by California's Mason Cellars, Pomelo is made entirely out of Sauvignon Blanc grapes — but with its effervescent, citrus-peel aromas and pineapple flavors, the wine could've fooled me into thinking it had real fruit.
My favorite part? At $10 a bottle, I never have to think twice about picking up as many bottles as I want at my neighborhood wine store. Have you ever tried Pomelo? What other Sauvignon Blancs do you prize for their extreme value?