All this staying home has made me believe my pajama pants are now my real pants. Which is a problem that I refuse to address right now.
Now for the great news…It’s International Sauvignon Blanc day!
Our good friends the Kiwi’s (New Zealanders) are the bee’s knees when it comes to crafting absolutely drinkable Sauvignon Blancs. In fact, as of 2018 10 out of every 12 bottles of wine exported from New Zealand were Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc seems to have originated in the Bordeaux region of France. Languedoc-Roussillon is France’s leading Sauvignon Blanc region and it’s first mentioned in 1534. It is the top three white varieties planted, right after Ugni Blanc and Chardonnay.
But allow me to digress for a minute….
Can We Talk about Pouilly-Fumé?
One of my favorite mouth watering Sauvignon Blanc wines is Pouilly-Fumé. What’s that you ask?
Well it’s grown in the iconic upper Loire Valley. The same place you’ll find it’s fancier work friend Sancerre. Nearly all wines in this region (both Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé) are cultivated from the Sauvignon Blanc variety.
What makes Pouilly-Fumé so special is it’s a great value for your dollar or euro.
You’ll get a solid Pouilly-Fumé for around $14. Pony up $25 and you’ve got a wine that under any other name would cost nearly 50% more.
It can have a slight smoky flavor and minerallyness (mineralogy?) being grown in flint based soil. It’s pleasing with delightful wisps of peach, lime, and vanilla notes. There’s also some pineapple and honey on the nose with a little bite of fresh cut grass, but not nearly as intense as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would be.
I am obsessed this spring with Pouilly-Fumé…
It’s also a little softer and more subtle than the new world Sauvignon Blancs. Truly elegant. Get yourself some and you’ll thank me later.
Now get your wine passport and get ready to make your mouth water…
So what are the differences between Sauvignon Blanc from France, New Zealand, or Chile?
I’m conspicuously leaving out Australia and California Sauvignon Blancs…well because I like the ones from France, Chile, and New Zealand better. (It doesn’t mean they are better, I just prefer them. My house, my rules.)
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Sauvignon Blanc in France is Old World wine, meaning it will be more earthy, more mineral, and crisp than New World Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, California, or Chile.
These French Sauvignon Blancs are often blended with Sémillon grapes which give them a little bit more structure and a richer mouthfeel. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are two of the greatest regions for Sauvignon Blanc production.
Posh Sauvignon Blanc: Sancerre
Now for the poshest Sauvignon Blanc: Sancerre. I 💛 Sancerre. It’s from the Loire Valley (an appellation) of France. The town of Sancerre is a perfect picturesque French village and was home to the French resistance during World War II.
Sancerre wines are fresh, flinty, packed with mouth watering citrus, and melon, orchard fruits, and a touch of yeasty goodness.
You’ll find flavors like chervil, lemongrass, Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit, pears, golden apples, quince, a little gray sale, lemon curd, and brioche.
This wine goes with a lot of regional French food, cheeses in particular like Crottin de Chavignol (goat’s cheese from the hamlet of Chavignol that produces Sancerre) Brie, Camembert, Comté, and Morbier.
Sancerre loves roasted chicken, salmon, pork loin, steelhead trout, and turkey. A good quality Sancerre will run you about $25-$30 a bottle.
Some producers will oak their Sauvignon Blanc wines and this adds that yeasty or buttery shortbread quality to the texture of the wine.
A sippable French Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joe’s is Sauvignon de Sequin 2017, AOC Bordeaux, $7 France. It’s even won several wine competition awards. Buy several bottles of this as soon as you can.
It’s a pale yellow-green when poured and full of lemon peel, passion fruit, and honeysuckle, and jasmine. It’s fresh, bright, and has a lovely lingering finish.
Discover Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
Now let’s chat about New World Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Chile) these wines will have more herbaceous grassy notes, hints of fresh green beans, and lots of tropical fruit flavors.
Chile makes some of the most affordable and delicious Sauvignon Blancs.
My favorite from Chilean Sauvignon Blanc can also be found at Trader Joe’s it’s Vinas Chilenas Rosario Estate Reserva 2018 Chile at just $5 a bottle.
It’s clean and easy to sip, with lemon, grapefruit, green apple, and notes of fresh hay, I’d probably use it to make a fabulous white Sangria, if I had a few extra bottles lying around.
Chilean Sauv Blancs are a little softer than audacious New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs but can give them a run for their money.
The flavors are fresh with lime, rock salt, flint, chive, prickly pears, pink peppercorns, lemongrass, and pink grapefruit. Expect to pay $5 – $20 a bottle.
Let’s Go to New Zealand
Now, board the private jet for New Zealand, and let’s go visit the king of the U.S. Sauvignon Blanc imports.
The explosive flavors of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand are dazzling. There’s fresh-cut grass, pineapple, pink grapefruit, lime, lime peel, gooseberry, mango, and passionfruit in most bottles.
It’s zingy and refreshing and last summer my cousin and I spent one entire Saturday in and out of the pool until dinner, downing four bottles of Sauvignon Blanc over the course of that sun-soaked relaxing day.
One was oaked and the other three were not.
Fresh salads, white fish, shellfish, citrus, or garlic-based flavors pair well with New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs for International Sauvignon Blanc Day. You’ll pony up $10 – $40 for these wines.
Now for the list of some of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs…
- Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2019 $32 Marlborough, New Zealand
- Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2018 $10 Marlborough, New Zealand
- Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc 2019 $22 Marlborough, New Zealand
- Matua Sauvignon Blanc 2019 $13 Marlborough, New Zealand
- Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Blanc 2018 $28 Sancerre, Loire, France
- Patient Cottat Sancerre Anciennes Vignes 2018 $29 Sancerre, Loire, France
- Haras de Pirque Albaclara Sauvignon Blanc 2018 $12 Maipo Valley, Chile
- Lapostolle Casa Grand Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2018 $13 Rapel Valley, Chile
- Claire Patelin Sauvignon Blanc $9 Cotes de Gascogne, France – Trader Joe’s
- Vignobles LaCheteau Pouilly-Fumé 2019 $13 Loire Valley, France – Trader Joe’s
- Marcel Langoux Pouilly-Fumé 2019 $25 Upper Loire, France
…Most of these delicious Sauvignon Blanc wines can be found by clicking here.