What to Drink Now

Episode III: Light crisp whites


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Sauvignon Blanc

Surprised? Yes, Sauvignon Banc has sort of morphed into a grassy, gooseberry, limey type of wine, but back in the Loire Valley in France, it tends to be much leaner, still citrusy, but with a lighter aromatic and palate impression, and distinctly flinty mineral notes when it comes from the great appellations of Pouilly Fume and Sancerre.

Sancerre, much like Pinot Gris/Grigio, is a chameleon of a grape. All minerally and brisk in France, it turns aromatic and intense in New Zealand, and then even gets the oak treatment when it’s transformed into Fume Blanc in California. The next time I write about Sauvignon Blanc, I’ll dive into these regional differences, but for now I would say that if you’ve found that you like Sauvignon Blanc, don’t stop! There are so many to explore and each type will help you further narrow down what you’re looking for in a white wine – so it’ll be educational, as well as fun!

Exactly what wine is supposed to be.

Photo courtesy ckovalev via Flickr/CC

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: cwoxford
    513173 18

    What about viogniers?

    Aug 22, 2011 at 5:30 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Coming soon to an aromatic wine article near you!

    Aug 22, 2011 at 6:07 PM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    Ooh, I"m glad he asked that. And I'm glad you had an answer, Gregory!

    Aug 22, 2011 at 11:09 PM

  • Snooth User: edelgads
    424349 2

    I'm so glad you mentioned Asyrtiko in this article! This varietal, like many others from Greece (Moscofilero!) are really fantastic, great values, and largely unknown by the general public. Kudos for bringing some attention to it!

    Aug 23, 2011 at 12:22 AM

  • Snooth User: ryllaar
    553483 24

    You inspired us with your Global Tasting Initiative. Expat Kochen (Basel, Switzerland) is hosting a tasting Thursday evening. As Alsace is in our backyard we'll try some of those and some Italians I imagine. Wish you could join! http://www.expatkochen.com

    Aug 23, 2011 at 5:47 AM

  • Snooth User: whauptman
    864967 2

    I know it isn't very fashionable, but I found several Australian chardonnays, unoaked, very agreeable as a summer aperitif. Also a sauvignon blanc+pinot gris combination is very fine as well. But for me a cool Riesling from the Mosel, a Kabinett, with preferably no more alcohol than 8% is tops.

    Aug 23, 2011 at 8:11 AM

  • Snooth User: Provencal
    547333 11

    And if you're in the Piemonte, you might try the Arneis

    Aug 23, 2011 at 9:22 AM

  • Snooth User: whauptman
    864967 2

    Arneis is fine, but I never found it light and a summer preference. How about Orvieto? Much of it is mass produced, but I've had some on Italian terraces that were lively, refreshing, and simply delicious to sip.

    Aug 23, 2011 at 10:18 AM

  • Snooth User: Wykd Imp
    479352 10

    Additionally, a nice Verdejo from Rueda would fit the bill...

    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

  • Snooth User: whauptman
    864967 2

    Yes for the Verdejo. I had some lovely bottles while I was in Spain. I found, too, that Spanish Sauvignon Blanc was deliciously appealing. I did not associate the grape with Spain earlier and was surprised at its bracing flavors and tangy acidity. What I drank in hot weather was not as harsh as some of the NZ stuff.

    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:55 AM

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