Are you bored with Sauvignon Blanc?
- Credit: Archant
Members of the ABC group of wine drinkers (Anything But Chardonnay) are now being joined by members of the ABS’s (Anything But Sauvignon). But are they really bored of Sauvignon Blanc or is it just one style of wine made from that popular grape variety? Are consumers of wine, like those of other goods, simply always looking for the next new trend?
I admit to being a Sauvignon Blanc fan, but not of all styles made from this grape variety all the time. At the moment my favourite is a subtle southern French style and the essential taste that must be present for me with Sauvignon is crisp freshness balanced with light flinty fruit on the nose and palate.
Historically, there have been two main styles in the Northern Hemisphere, firstly the aromatic zesty light fresh style with minerally, flinty, cut-grass notes as found in the Loire Valley, with a lighter version in Hungary and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Secondly, the full rich Bordeaux blends with Muscadelle and Semillon when it is often oak-aged. In the past New World Sauvignon, especially from New Zealand, had a style which is often pungently aromatic with concentrated aromas and flavours that are reminiscent of gooseberries, elderflower, and tropical fruits. Alternatively, there are the more leafy yet concentrated aromatic Chilean and South African Sauvignons.
Recently New Zealand Winegrowers and Loire Valley Wines, two key generic wine bodies representing the key Sauvignon-producing regions in the world, joined forces to celebrate Sauvignon Blanc in all its guises. This idea was generated by conversations had whilst drinking Sauvignons at the International Wine Challenge Dinner.
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The main idea behind was to show that the wines made by this grape in the two main producing regions has evolved, with much sharing of ideas between the growers and producers which has blurred some of the previously held definitions of each region’s wines. This can be seen in some of the much more fruit-driven wines in the Loire Valley with more concentrated flavours and more subtle elegance in Kiwi Sauvignons. A great reason to explore Sauvignon from around the world.
On the other hand, if you really are looking for new wine experiences but don’t want to stray too far from the Sauvignon style check out wines made from other grapes such as traditional alternatives including South African Chenin Blanc and French Viognier.
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Lesser known but equally good grape varieties with their own Sauvignon similarities are Albarino and Godello Galicia, Italian Fiano also grown successfully in Australia, Italian Pecorino, or Austrian Gruner Veltliner – that‘s just for starters!
They’ll all offer the fresh, crisp light touch when made in certain regions, and certain growers – just experiment to find your next favourite wine or simply a different Sauvignon. This Friday it’s actually Sauvignon Blanc Day so why not use the opportunity to explore this grape variety a bit more?