Where does Sauvignon Blanc come from? Well, Bordeaux might come to mind, and definitely Sancerre in the Loire Valley and in the New World it’s all about New Zealand, but as it turns out there are plenty of places where Sauvignon Blanc is popping up and thriving in both wine’s Old and New Worlds.
2013 De Martino Sauvignon Blanc, Maipo Valley, Chile $13
Chile is not the place you think of when you’re talking about Sauvignon Blanc but in Chile’s Maipo Valley the De Martino Estate Organic Sauvignon Blanc is a head turner.
The De Martino estate was planted in the 1930s but the family, now four generations into wine making in the Maipo Valley is about pushing innovation and a preservation of the land that has given them such outstanding wines. The De Martino estate has been 100% organic after replanting the vineyard beginning in 1998. The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is classically crisp and an example of what makes Sauvignon Blanc such an enjoyable white wine. The aromatics are bright, clean and intense elements of citrus and early season stone fruit. The wine’s steel treatment comes across in a steely, angular and fresh palate with flavors of wet stone, key lime and grapefruit.
While the Maipo Valley lies inland, the Leyda Valley lies upon Chile’s coast; a sub-region of the coastal San Antonio Valley. The region offers amazing range in elevation from the mountains in the interior to its coastal foothills. The wines of Leyda benefit from this coastal cooling effect and their wines have tons of acidity to show for it. This is their entry level Sauvignon Blanc they do several and many single vineyard bottlings. This wine though shows why they take this variety so seriously. It’s steely, energetic and loaded with minerality and a pulsing acidity. Aromas are effusive, with jasmine, cut stone fruit and flint. The palate is loaded with citrus fruit zing and minerality but balanced and textured.
Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills are known as one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon producing regions in the New World, but this region along the Columbia River also produces outstanding Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is a shining, bright example, with tropical and fresh stone fruit aromas along with notes of crushed granite. This Sauv Blanc while it’s grown in Washington’s high desert demonstrates why the Horse Heaven Hills location right on the Columbia River allows the vineyards to maintain an excellent balance with rounded tropical fruit flavors, bright citrus notes and a steely freshness throughout the palate.
2013 Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Finger Lakes New York $19
From the Upstate New York region better known for its Riesling comes a Sauvignon Blanc that shows the region’s broader chops. These vineyards near Cayuga and Finger Lakes have been farmed by six generations as both fruit orchards and grape vineyards. The Hazlitt Sauv Blanc is loaded with rich, ripe tropical elements. The aromatics are rounded, rich and ripe. Pineapple, mango and passion fruit flavors are accented by angular and zippy acidity.
Pairing Picks: Sauvignon blanc offers a broad range of food pairings, like the regions it’s grown in. It’s a perfect white wine for holiday meals as it cut through rich sauces, and pairs well with a variety of heavy dishes. From crab cakes, to grilled shrimp, oysters on the half shell to baked chicken or halibut, Sauvignon Blanc has the presence and character as well food friendly flavors and acid profile to go with nearly anything.