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We Should All be Drinking More California Sauvignon Blanc

We Should All be Drinking More California Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a grape that has taken the world by storm in recent years. It’s always been popular, but as of late, we’re continuing to see wine drinkers move away from the rich and oaky California chardonnays that soothed their palates for so long to sauvignon blanc which is a little brighter and more aromatic. Sauvignon blanc is known for its powerful acidity, citrus notes, and flavors of stone or tropical fruit depending on where it is grown. It can also have bracing minerality and delightful floral notes. With all of these exciting qualities, it’s no wonder that sauvignon blanc has become the choice white grape for many.

When it comes to sauvignon blanc, there are a few regions around the world that immediately come to mind as the major players. To start, Bordeaux specializes in only a few white grapes, including sauvignon blanc, and can produce styles that are fresh and fruity or rich and complex. You can also move a little farther north in France to experience the famous sauvignon blancs from regions like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire Valley with their lively representations full of acidity and minerality. Or, you can take a trip around the world to find the vibrant tropical fruit flavors that come out to play in sauvignon blanc from regions like Marlborough in New Zealand. One could argue, though, that the coastal regions of California are producing some of the most exciting representations of the varietal in the world today. California is making sauvignon blanc that’s both zesty and ripe giving us wine drinkers exactly what we want out of this highly versatile grape.

To find the best examples, look west along the California coast. Areas of Napa Valley like Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford are producing exceptional bottles from grapes that thrive in the region’s mediterranean climate. A great example is Rutherford Hill AJT Collection, which has notes of passion fruit, key lime, dried pineapple, and orange blossoms. In Sonoma, the cooler regions like the Russian River Valley have a climate that allows the grapes to retain more acidity as they ripen for a crisper end result. A great example here is the Merry Edwards we currently offer at Komo Cellars.

One particular nuance that California has become known for is aging some of their sauvignon blanc in oak for a period of time resulting in a unique and sometimes smokey flavor. Wines made in this style are generally called Fumé Blanc. This term was coined in the 1960’s when Robert Mondavi decided to try his hand at a new kind of sauvignon blanc than what was currently being produced in the United States. It was a way to not only differentiate in style but also a way to peak the interest of those that hadn’t been impressed by versions previously produced in California.

One of the best things about California not (yet) being viewed as one of the world’s powerhouse regions for sauvignon blanc is you can get a top notch bottle that won’t cost you nearly as much as what you might need to pay for a high quality Sancerre or Bordeaux Blanc. Quality bottles from California can be chock-full of complexity that can stand up to options that may be twice the price from their counterparts in the old world.

So, there you have it. Don’t be surprised when you’re seeing more people with California sauvignon blanc in their glass, as it should be in yours too. Enjoy!

Written by Komo Cellars