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Sauvignon Blancs From Down Under

Posted on: January 17th, 2011 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

The lands down under are most commonly known for red wines like Shiraz, but there are also excellent white wines offered that shouldn’t be missed. Among the best are New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blancs.  Over the past 10 years, NZ wines established such an excellent reputation that many California vintners were left scrambling to catch up (and they may have, more on that later).

Today, the New Zealand’s Sav Blanc’s sharp citrus flavors, along with delicate tones of mineral and earth, draw kudos from critics from all parts of the world.  Also, luckily for us, the spring harvest in the Southern Hemisphere makes each vintage year appear on the shelves 6 months ahead of their Northern Hemisphere counterparts.  So even though the label may look “too young” at first, even last year’s white wines are ready to drink now.

One of the more highly rated New Zealand Sauvignon Bancs can be found at Total Wine and even Costco from time to time.  It is Paretai’s Matua Valley Estate Series and is an excellent buy when priced at under $20.  With its full flavors and excellent balance, you can serve it with the fanciest seafood meals.  Enjoy the full power of a quality NZ wine relatively “on the cheap”.

Another one that is easier to find is the Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  It is generally available at most wine outlets and can be purchased for about $15.  It has a little more citrus sharpness than the Paretai but also exhibits a distinctive mineral component that many people favor.  These two are very interesting to compare side-by-side because they are both from the Marlborough region.

If you find the Sauvignon Blancs too citrusy, you may want to try a blend.  A classic blend that is used in the French Bordeaux whites contains a combination of the Sauvignon Banc and Semillon grapes.  The Semillon softens the body just enough to make the wine refreshingly smooth.  This blend also works out solo where the pure Sauvignon Blancs really need to be consumed with food.  An excellent one to try is the Cape Mentelle from the Margaret River area of Australia’s west coast.  It is a little harder to find, but is still under $25.

Sauvignon Blancs are best served after a good sit in the fridge because their bold citrus flavors stand up to the cold.  They combine well with any salad, especially those with a vinegar-based dressing.  As a rule of thumb, these will go perfectly with any dish that you would normally squeeze a lemon over to improve the flavor.  The combination of the wine adds to the effect by adding more variations of citrus and mineral flavors when paired with the food.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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