MP's Wine Wednesday!... If you want to be a true Rico Suave, you need to get up to speed on Sauvignon Blanc (“Sauv Blanc” for short). It’s one of the world’s most popular white wine varietals, and has a storied history. With strong Old World roots in France and more recent New World incarnations, Sauvignon Blanc is truly a worldwide wine. Last but not least, it’s a wine that will allow you to suggest some great food pairing options, whether you’re at a fancy seafood restaurant or opening a bottle at home. Below are the basics you need to know to be a well-informed man about town when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc….
Flavor Profile. Most Sauv Blancs are light-bodied wines – think crisp, dry and refreshing, with light acidity. Depending on the region, soil and climate where the grapes are grown, wines can range from featuring lean, racy, mineral notes to lush, floral, tropical fruit aromatics and flavors. If you like wines from the Sancerre region, you might describe them as having elements of stone-washed water and vegetal moss; detractors may think it smells too much like cat piss. (We can argue over whether or not there’s such a concept as “cat piss in a good way.”) New Zealand Sauv Blancs tend to have grassy qualities to them; while Sauv Blanc grown in the Golden State makes wines that can have aromatics and flavor profiles resembling lychees, peaches or grapefruit.
Food Pairings. With food and wine, the ManPossibilities start with the French. Oysters, white fish and other briny seafood dishes pair beautifully with a Sancerre. (Side Bar/Wine Bar – oysters are reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, so that’s good news for those of you MP faithful who like them….) A nice New Zealand Sauv Blanc from, say the Marlborough region, will have a wider array of food pairing options – salads, lemongrass stir-fry, etc. And a fruit-driven Sauv Blanc from Napa will go great with salads, fish tacos or grilled swordfish. (Side Bar/Wine Bar – almost any Sauv Blanc pairs great with sushi, giving you the opportunity to make an astute suggestion on a date to get past the typical beer and sake routine!)
Price. Happily, most sauv blancs are not too expensive. Good options (mostly outside the Bordeaux and Loire regions) run from $10 - $30 per bottle in the wine shop or super market; whereas a nice bottle of Sancerre may cost $20 - $50. And while the usual restaurant mark-ups apply, you can find a good Sauv Blanc offered by the glass in almost any restaurant.
Now get out there and do some sniffing and swirling, Man!
Photo used under Creative Commons from Martin Krolikowski