Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, this versatile white wine grape gets its name from the French word sauvage (“wild”) and blanc (“white”), and is known for its quick ripening ability and high acid and sugar contents. Historically, winemakers in Bordeaux have blended sauvignon blanc with semillion, muscatelle and ugni blanc to create white Bordeaux and also white Graves. Most of these blended wines are aged in oak and are typically less acidic and more mellowed. This is sometimes referred to as Burgundian Style of winemaking. Also in Bordeaux, botrytized sauvignon blanc is blended with semillion to create the famous dessert wines of Sauternes.
In the Loire Valley of France, winemakers use sauvignon blanc to create the famous wines of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. Unlike the wines of Bordeaux, these wines are often unblended, and rarely spend any time in oak barrels. The resulting wines are citrusy and acidic, meant to be drank within two years of bottling. It is this style of winemaking that has led to the tremendous growth and popularity of sauvignon blanc as a varietal wine.
Now widely planted throughout the world’s wine regions, top quality Sauvignon Blanc is produced in a number of other countries including Chile, Australia, The United States, South Africa and New Zealand. While each region strives for its own style (and market share), by far the most successful producers are the ones who follow the Loire style, allowing the wine to retain its bright citrus and acidic nature, while at the same time coaxing other aromas and flavors from the soils the grapes are grown in.
This trend is commonly referred to as New World Style, and is often associated with the sauvignon blanc produced in New Zealand, where ideal growing conditions and unique soils help to create some of the best examples in the world. Acidic and crisp, these wines began arriving on the scene in the 1990s, and have become wildly popular due to their consistency and relatively low cost.
And, when it comes to pairing wine with summer fare, there may be no better choice then Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s famous Marlborough region. We sat down with Mike Mead, owner and chef of The Shoreline restaurant and asked him to taste this weeks’ wine choice.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2009
“One of the brightest stars from New Zealand sauvignon blancs. The crisp acidity and bright lemon-citrus flavors and long complex finish make this wine a great food accompaniment. I’d suggest a number of dishes, from chicken and mango quesadillas with caramelized onions, jalapenos and muenster cheese and a lime dipping sauce, to a broiled whitefish topped with Roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs and lemon zest, and even shrimp, scallops and whitefish sautéed and tossed with angel hair pasta in a tomato and basil sauce. The depth of this sauvignon blanc makes it very compatible for so many summer dishes or just to sit by the bay and enjoy by itself!”
~ Owner Mike Mead, Shoreline Restaurant (Gills Rock, WI)
Appearance: clear yellow with a green hue
Aroma: lemony and herbaceous aromas
Flavors: crisp yet balanced with citrus, gooseberry and grapefruit
Finishing Notes: a long finish that evolves into a complex, stand along drinker or pairs exceptionally with a multitude of foods
Where to buy: Main Street Market, Madison Avenue Wine Shop, Econo Foods, Pick-n-Save
Where to try: Waterfront, Shoreline, The Mission Grille, The White Gull Inn, Inn at Krisofer’s
Information about “Where to Try” and “Where to Buy” these selected wines was provided by the local wine purveyors and vendors. If you happen to also serve or sell these wines, email [email protected].
WINE:30 is written by Karl Bradley and Jody Wuollett. Karl is the general manager and self-proclaimed “sous” sommelier for the Mission Grille. Former restaurant executive and Door County native Jody is happily under-employed as a Mission Grille food server and a member of the local band Northbound.