By Ben Hilzinger
Before I really started drinking wine, everything tasted the same to me. Most of you, if we’re all being honest, would likely say the same. If that’s true, then you probably remember the first glass of wine that changed everything; a glass that can only be followed with a “um….ok, now THIS is something I can appreciate”. For me, this was a cool, crisp, glass of Washington Sauvignon Blanc. Although originating in South West France, the Bordeaux region to be exact, Sauvignon Blanc has thrived in almost every climate around the world from Australia, Brazil, California, Canada and, of course, to Washington. Due to its readily-available nature, Sauvignon Blanc has grown into one of the most consumed and loved white wines.
Not familiar with Sauvignon Blanc? Well, you might have enjoyed a few bottles without even realizing it. As you probably know, not all wines are labeled by the grape from which they came. In fact, very few non-domestic wines are. The Loire Valley in France is known for its 100% Sauvignon Blanc, but bottles are named from the region, or appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. These styles of Sauvignon Blanc are made crisp and tart with hints of grapefruit, citrus, and green apple. Head a little south to Bourdeaux, its often blended with Sémillon to make the sweet and revered wines of Sauternes.
In California, it’s got an alias of sorts. The name Fumé Blanc was born in the 1960’s when the forever-famed Robert Mondavi wanted to distinguish his dry, Sancerre-style of Sauvignon Blanc from his sweeter, Sauternes-style of wine. Since he decided not to trademark this term, many winemakers throughout the United States still use the Fumé Blanc name. Don’t be confused, it’s all the same grape.
In winemaking, this grape prefers sunny, yet cooler climates. Budding late and ripening early helps maintain the higher acid content for which it’s known. In hotter climates, it over ripens and the acidity falls flat very quickly. A medium-bodied white wine, Sauvignon Blanc’s powerful flavors of citrus are a great partner with spicy, acidic foods.
Sauvignon Blanc is also the mother of the most universally-loved red grape varietal. One night after too much photosynthesis (emphasis on the “syn”), Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc went back to the vineyard and had themselves a little sensual science experiment. The result was the hybrid grape, Cabernet Sauvignon.
At Northwest Cellars, one of our premier white blends is the Adagio. Having become a favorite on the list, the Adagio is always a blend using Sauvignon Blanc. This year, our 2012 Adagio also contains 40% Chardonnay showcasing lively aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon zest, pineapple, and banana following through a palate of grassy notes and citrus. The wine has a bit of sweetness and creaminess that is well balanced by refreshing acidity and a nice long citrusy finish. Try it with spicy food! Recently rated a Best Buy and Excellent by greatnorthwestwine.com, we are excited to present to you this spectacular bottle of wine.
Drink Northwest Cellars. Cheers!