Archive for August, 2010



It’s been a crazy summer in terms of weather. Gigantic highs, peculiar rainstorms. Regardless of weather, friendly Sauvignon Blanc, which is particularly refreshing in warm weather, is great even when frost is on the ground. I admit to being America’s biggest fan of this wine. It struts its stuff with a remarkable balance of fruitiness and acidity. It has flavors of citrus, new mown grass and tropical fruits, a lovely pale gold color, and a heady, attractive aroma.The current trend for vinifying the grape without its traditional partner of Semillon is a current trend for some winemakers.

Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s signature grape, producing some of the world’s finest examples of this wine.  Among my favorites are those produced in the Marlborough Region where the terroir— the combination of soil and climate—is considered ideal for these grapes. And among those from the Marlborough Region, of which there are many worth seeking out, Brancott Wines are my absolute favorite. So imagine my delight in meeting its chief winemaker, Jeff Clarke, who has reigned over the winery’s production for twenty-five vintages. Clarke poured the range of Sauvignon Blancs from the winery’s 2006 vintage, bruited to be an exceptional year. The Brancott Terroir Series reflects the unique flavors of three particular vineyards, though Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, is sourced from several areas.  Now, Dear Consumer, having one producer bottle the same grape under more than one label is understandably confusing, but subtle variations are probably only noticeable when comparing one against the other. So Brancott fans can find a lot of satisfaction with any in the range of its wines. Best of all, they fall into the distinctly affordable range, from $13 to $25.

Babich, also from New Zealand, is on equal par with Brancott with mouth-watering crispness and bright flavors. To be perfectly fair to other wines from the region, be on the look-out  for Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc.

Great Sauvignon Blancs also are produced in California. Wherever, they can be enjoyed as a wonderful aperitif. When  mated with a dollop of Cassis, it becomes for  gently purple-hued Kir.  Partner it with the  foods of springtime and summer, but it’s my year-round favorite. Think fish, chicken, light veal dishes, grilled asparagus, seafood, and strawberries. It’s a terrific complement to a lobster bake or any raw shellfish.

So, consider trading in your tried and true Chardonnays for a new taste treat. Put Sauvignon Blanc in your wine store’s shopping basket and choose it from the menu whenever it’s available. You’re in for a treat.