Wine School! (Class #4 – Sauvignon Blanc)
Blanc's origins are traced to Bordeaux in France.
The grape is the parent varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine made from
Sauvignon Blanc tend to be light in body with a fragrant, fruity nose—as well
as a scent called "herbaceous." The taste is fruity and tart, and the
finish is normally crisp. "Old World"
Sauvignon Blancs sometimes have a "mineral" character.
Blanc is an extremely food friendly wine, largely because of its acidity. Some
see "acidity" and think "sour." "Tartness" is a
better synonym. Imagine lemon juice or lime juice—acidic and sour on its own.
But a splash of either in some club soda or tonic water makes the tartness
pleasant. The acidity of the wine cuts through flavors that can be real wine
discuss food pairings below, but hot peppery foods go exceptionally well with
Sauvignon Blanc. Why? The chemical compound that creates heat is called Capsaicin.
If you sift through some memories to high school chemistry, Capsaicin is a
Sauvignon Blanc is acidic, and acids neutralize bases. Sauvignon Blanc and
spicy food tames the tartness and heat, allowing the food's flavor and the
wine's fruit to shine through.
I discussed with Pinot Noir, the terroir has a major effect on the
flavor. For comparison's sake, I chose three very different versions:
2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Chile) – $10-12
Yvecourt 2007 Bordeaux (France) – $9-11
Villa Maria 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) – $13-15
Veramonte has the fruitiest nose with a distinct scent of grapefruit and mangoes.
The Yvecourt's was somewhat fruity, but much more floral and had a bit of a
scent of herbs, as many Sauvignons do. The Villa Maria was the most complex .
The herbaceous scent mellowed after a good swirl into pineapples and vanilla.
tastes were very different. The Veramonte was tart and very crisp. The finish
was tropical and a little peppery. The Yvecourt was light tasting with a little
gentle citrus flavor. The finish was extremely dry with that mineral flavor.
The Villa Maria was the most complex and full-bodied. The fruit was coupled
with vanilla. The finish was the least dry and was the longest, gradually
Veramonte was the most drinkable and refreshing on its own or paired with anything
spicy, especially Thai food. The Yvecourt goes with any kind of shellfish.
Crab, shrimp, calamari—anything along those lines is a winner. The Villa Maria is
full enough to pair with chicken, pork, and some cream sauces.