Jul 07 , 2022
One of the things I love about wine, is that a grape from one area can taste vastly different from another area. This is why you should never say you hate a type of grape if you have only tried one or two different types. Location, weather, and aging are a few things that can really change the taste of a grape from one place to the next.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of these grapes that can taste vastly different from region to region. The most popular style of Sauvignon Blanc are the ones from New Zealand. They are very crisp and refreshing and typically have lots of grapefruit and green pepper notes. France also makes excellent Sauvignon Blanc with Sancerre and Bordeaux making some of the most famous ones. These typically have a more mineral style and seem slightly drier. Lastly, are the Sauvignon Blanc from California, and more specifically Napa Valley. These are the Sauvignon Blanc I want to feature today.
Napa Valley is obviously known for their amazing Cabernet Sauvignon. This is by far the King of the region, however, the Sauvignon Blanc that is grown in Napa Valley should not be overlooked. As I was saying earlier, a grape can taste vastly different from region to region, and this holds true with the Sauvignon Blanc from Napa. Unlike their counterparts from New Zealand and France, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc tend to be richer and fuller bodied. Most spend time aging in oak barrels which give them a slightly creamier more vanilla note. They do not get nearly as much oak as a Chardonnay would, so no need to fear it will be a buttery oak bomb like that. The fruit on these Sauvignon Blanc still jump out of the glass. Instead of the heavy grapefruit and lemon and lime you might get from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, these tend to have more melon and apple and pear flavors. Now there are always exceptions, and not all of the Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc taste like this, but this is the flavor profile I get with these wines. I have tasted so many of these wines and have so many favorites, however, the only downfall is the price. Most Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc are nowhere near as good of a value as their New Zealand counterparts. They typically begin in the $20 range and go up from there.
One that I want to feature is the St. Supery Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc. I remember tasting this wine at a distributor portfolio tasting a few years back. There were over 100 wines I tasted that day. They were from all over the world, and most were big red wines which I love. However, this wine stood out specifically that day and was in my top 5 wines I tasted. Sometimes after tasting so many wines at one time, you stop trying to pick out certain tasting notes in each one. Instead, I just like to think back and pick out the ones that really stood out from the rest. I remember the St. Supery just being so lush and full in the mouth, however the fruit was explosive and refreshing as well. I was so impressed that a white wine was one of the main wines that stood out to me after that tasting. At $28 it might not sound like an amazing deal; however, I have tasted Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc that cost nearly $100. Those have been amazing as well, but for a quarter of the price, the St. Supery Dollarhide seems like a much better value!
So, if you have tried a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and hated it, please do not swear off Sauvignon Blanc forever. Give a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc a try! I promise they will taste nothing like the ones from New Zealand.