One of the fastest growing and most popular grape varieties, especially in the New World, Sauvignon Blanc is known for its very obvious aromas that range from passion fruit to boxwood. The variety is fairly easy to recognize with its grassy notes, the green hues in its colour and above all its clean, zesty acidity. With age and with ripeness the crisp fruit (which has also been described as green pepper, nettle, gooseberry and lime blossom) can become rounder with notes of honeydew melon, pear and linden.
The grape is believed to have originated in the Loire, where it still finds its purest expression. In the last 20 years, the variety has gone through a revolution since Denis Dubourdieu, the brilliant wine researcher and professor in Bordeaux identified the precursors of its aromas, which are sulphur compounds that become volatile when exposed to oxygen, called thiols. To preserve these thiols the grapes are usually macerated on the skins for a short period at cold temperatures before being fermented in stainless steel tanks.
The most obviously fruity, aromatic Sauvignon Blancs come from New Zealand where the intense box tree and passion fruit notes are unmistakable. In France, the wines are more restrained with mineral notes mixing with grassy, fruity tones. In Bordeaux the grapes are picked at full maturity, vinified in barrels and often blended with honey-scented Semillon to provide the necessary flesh before being aged in oak; these wines are capable of long age. Apart from New Zealand, the variety has had great success throughout the New World where it is prized for its intense aromas and juicy, fruity acidity.
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- 2013 Domaine ThomasLe Pierrier Sancerre0.375l White€4.01 €3.31A well-known domaine which has beautiful Sauvignon vineyards planted on limestone slopes. The wine is balanced and fresh with floral and herbaceous notes. The palate is flavoured with orchard fruit flavours and has a nice streak of minerality. Very elegant, long and fresh on the finish. Drink well-chilled with shellfish and grilled fish dishes.
- Bordeaux0.75l WhiteBio€7.90 €6.53If it is true that pretty wines come from lovely sites, than the Moulin de Peyronin, owes its attractive aromas and flavours to the picturesque village of Pujols in the heart of the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. This youthful wine produced from organic grapes (70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon) grown in the clay limestone slopes of the village. The wine is made simply: pressing directly after picking, cold stabilisation and fermentation and then aging on the fine lees for a couple of months. The result is a wine with lively aromas of fresh flowers, orchard fruit, cut hay and peaches. On the palate the wine has a mineral liveliness and is quite spicy and long in the finish without losing its vibrant freshness. Great as an aperitif, or with oysters, shellfish and other fish.
- 2016 Château PelleboucEntre-Deux-Mers0.75l White€9.40 €7.77A easy drinking, refreshing white Bordeaux, owned by Baudouin Thienpont, the brother of Jacques and produced at his beautiful estate in the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. Made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, this is a light, clear white wine with an attractive nose of citrus, freshly mown grass and orchard fruits. On the palate it is lively with good acidity and a nice, long, dry finish. Enjoy this wine young with oysters from Arcachon, light lunches, salads or seafood.
- 2017 Marigny-Neuf (BIO)Sauvignon Val de Loire0.75l WhiteBio€9.96 €8.23One of the first wines made by Frédéric Brochet who has now expanded his domaine just north of Poitiers to include a complete line of varietal wines. His Marigny-Neuf Sauvignon Blanc remains his best seller and is grown organically in limestone and silex soils. The wine has a very pure, light yellow colour, very good citrus fruit characteristic of the Sauvignon Blanc grape which is complemented with notes of boxtree, mint and wild flowers. Good energy, precise acidity and lovely fresh structure bring out the attractive aromas in this wine. Serve with shrimps, oysters and of course goat’s cheese.
- 2007 Château FilhotSauternesDeuxièmes Crus 0.375l White€14.30 €11.82Bright and pure with a lovely fruity nose of apricots and grapefruits. A very pretty Sauternes at a very good price. Instensely concentrated and very fresh. Very wel-made, a Sauternes with lots of character.
- Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux0.75l WhiteNew€14.50 €11.98Purchased by Nicolas Thienpont in 1988, the estate produces a fine white wine which rivals better known Bordeaux. This year there is more Sauvignon in the wine than usual, with the blend being 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Gris and 50% Semillon. Pale lemon colour with ripe orchard fruit aromas, fresh and good spicy flavours with lots of acidity, lots of personality, wild flowers, grapefruit, apple blossom, oak ; pretty.
- 2014 Ampelidae le S (BIO)Sauvignon Poitou0.75l WhiteBio€17.61 €14.55The "S" here, quite simply stands for Sauvignon, the passion of Frédéric Brochet. Grown in the Ampelidae vineyards with their mixture of clay and sand subsoils on a bedrock of flint and limestone, the grapes are hand picked and allowed to macerate on the skins for 14 hours before fermentation. This takes place partly in oak barrels, partly in tanks and results in a brilliant clear wine with very forward aromas of tropical fruits, fruit compote and a salty minerality. The wine has great intensity and depth of flavour with a pure, long finish. Serve with asparagus, river fish, oysters, lobsters and goats’ cheese.