WALLA WALLA, Wash. — With zesty aromas of tropical fruits and fresh-cut grass and plenty of minerality, Sauvignon Blanc remains one of the most loved white varietals in the world.
Originally from the Loire Valley in France, Sauvignon Blanc has found a happy home in nearly all major wine regions and grown globally from Bordeaux to Chile to New Zealand. Many wine drinkers became familiar during its heyday in the early 2000s when zippy Marlborough versions, chock-full of heady aromas of jalapeño, gooseberry and tropical fruit, flowed into the U.S. market.
Easy to love, easy to drink, Sauvignon Blanc continues to hold its place among consumer’s favorite quaffable whites. While French and Kiwi versions still hold their place, American offerings — particularly from the Pacific Northwest — continue to offer up an impressive array of fruit-forward, delicious Sauvignon Blancs. From savory to tropical, here is a short list of some of my top Sauvignon Blancs from Washington.
Devison Vintners 2021 Evergreen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $28: Hands down one of the most exciting Sauvignon Blancs in Washington. With fruit sourced from the Ancient Lakes AVA, this wine has taut minerality and beguiling freshness. The palate is explosive with citrus and tropical flavors, with an appealing texture and weight from well-judged time in neutral oak barrels. Just delicious!
Avennia 2020 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley $28: Impeccable vineyard sourcing from both Boushey and Red Willow in the Yakima Valley drives this complex white. Rich and weighty from fermentation in barrel. Expect delicious aromas and flavors of ripe peaches, yellow grapefruit and chervil.
Goose Ridge Vineyards 2021 Estate Sauvignon Blanc Goose Gap, $18: This wine leans heavier into the tropical side of things with aromas and flavors of kiwi, guava and grapefruit. Even so, it manages body and weight without feeling heavy or cloying and is perfectly suited for the table. Think shellfish, grilled veggies and goat cheese. It’s no coincidence that this marked Devison’s first vintage as a consultant to the Monson family and Goose Ridge.
Alton Wines 2022 Alder Ridge Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Washington State, $36: A creamy, smoothness makes this wine utterly mouthwatering. Pale yellow in the glass, Alton emphasizes elegance here with pretty aromas of freshly cut grass, green garden herbs and just-ripe citrus. I can’t think of a better pairing for scallops or summer seafood fare.
Through a global lens, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most exciting things happening in wine today. Nowhere is this truer than in Austria. Yes, that’s correct. Austria. Chances are you haven’t experienced an Austrian Sauvignon Blanc. That’s because it flies under the radar with most being gulped up by Austrians. Winemakers in the Sudsteiermark in Austria are doing mind-bending things with the grape. Who should you be on the lookout for? Here are two of my very favorite producers.
Weingut Tement 2019 Ried Grassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc: I know that’s a handful of unfamiliar words on a label, but trust me, this is next-level Sauvignon Blanc. Concentrated and full of life, Tement’s wines often emphasize the savory side of the varietal with notes of flint and smoke over the top of a delicate citrus and herbal character. There’s only one place in Washington to buy this wine — The Thief Fine Wine & Beer Shop in Walla Walla. It’s a must-try if you love Sauvignon Blanc and an adventure!
Weingut Sattlerhof 2021 Sudsteiermark Sauvignon Blanc: Here’s stunning wine at a stunning value with most bottles priced in the $20 range. Vinified entirely in stainless steel, there is a punchy, steely aspect to this wine that keeps you coming back again and again. Aromas of grapefruit, lemon rind, gooseberry and hedgerow leap from glass. Vibrant in its youthfulness. I love this wine for its versatility!
There has never been a more exciting time to be a wine drinker than now. Winemakers around the globe are fine-tuning their craft and quality continues to grow alongside diversity. If you love the punchy aromatics and pop of acidity in Sauvignon Blanc, the wine world is your oyster, especially if you are pairing wine with oysters. Look for crunchy, fresh and fruit-driven examples of Verdejo from the Rueda DO (Designation of Origin) in Spain or slightly effervescent Vinho Verde from the north of Portugal. Equally appealing in its freshness and food worthiness is Grenache Blanc — a varietal Washington can do magic with. Sauvignon Blanc is just the beginning.
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