Could it be that we have seen the last of the winter weather? We certainly believe the answer is yes. After all, we’ve been leaving large balls of fluff on every square inch of floor and piece of furniture. (One of the humans has announced that our home is being renamed Tumbleweed Junction. We think we’re insulted….)
With that wonderful warmth in the air and the birds once again chirping loudly, we decided we would prepare our tastebuds for those summer delicacies. Summer cries out for flowers and berries and big, bold fruits, but it can also be a time for something soft and subtle. On those late evenings, when the sun creeps across the sky, sometimes what you want is a deep and languorous sip.
Americans love a good Chardonnay, in large part because the Chardonnay grape can take on so many characteristics. Whatever your favorite qualities, there’s probably a chard out there that will meet your needs. But one of our favorite summer wines is the wonderful Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc is a tasty grape, but many people avoid it because of it’s reputation. SB has a distinctive aroma that is always there, no matter what the vintner does with the juice. The friendliest terms describe it as freshly mown grass. The less kinder description is cat-piss, which is especially prevalent among SB’s from New Zealand.
For those having a hard time learning to enjoy the wonderful world of SB, we’ve decided to help you out with a list of a few good bottles to help you learn to love this grape.
- Fournier Sancerre Vielles Vignes – Sancerre is the traditional French version of SB and vielles vignes is the signal for old vines. For those looking for something very old school SB, this is it. The nose has that grassy, herbal aroma with some citrus thrown in for good measure. The flavor is tart, with a short finish. Think green with this one – artichokes, asparagus, even avocados will pair well with this classic.
- Brampton SB – This is from the warmer climes of Stellenbosch, South Africa. There’s that distinctive green grass you’d expect, as well as some sharp acidity. It also has a long aftertaste, so you can take your time sipping. Think cheese plate at the end of the meal.
- Giesen SB – Our first New Zealand entry. New Zealand has really taken to this grape, and you can’t really blame them. The grape loves the New Zealand climate and in return, the wine industry has produced some really distinctive and delicious wines. Giesen’s version is beautifully balanced between sweet fruit and sharp mineral. There’s a nice champagne effect on the front of the tongue which really opens up your tastebuds for that burst of sweet
- Mason SB – From Napa, this is all summer, all day long. That first sniff is nothing but big green grass and lots of heavy herbs. That first sip is full on citrus – sharp and pulpy and positively dripping of summer. Grilled anything will meet its perfect partner with this one.
- Sunday Mountain SB – Another New Zealander, this is the alternate label for Tohu wines. If you want to understand what the wine experts describe so lovingly as cat-piss, then this is a good wine to learn. Don’t be offended by either the description or that first harsh snort on the nose. The flavor is all berry – soft red raspberry and the slightly sour gooseberry – balanced against just a hint of bell pepper.
Even if you’re still experiencing one of those arctic blasts, you can make your own escape with a bottle full of summer joy – just pick up a tasty SB and relax.