Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy – Sauvignon blanc

by Aaron Winsor

Hello Prince Albert!

When it’s time to start the grill and open a crisp bottle of white wine, nothing quite compares to a good glass of Sauvignon Blanc! This grape varietal is known for its highly aromatic scent and intense flavor.

This white grape is also known as a sommelier’s best friend since it is so compatible with a large variety of foods.

The flavor profile of Sauvignon Blanc can vary greatly depending on the approach that the winemaker uses and the area that it comes from. Some styles are sweeter in small degrees like the 2019 Woodbridge from California while other wines like the famous Sauternes style from Bordeaux, France are much richer and sweeter which result in an opulent dessert wine with a high level of residual sugar.

The most sought after and popular style found in Prince Albert has to be from New Zealand; specifically from the Marlborough region.

The NZ approach to Sauv Blanc creates a wine with high intensity and deliciously sharp acidity with a touch of salinity.

The perfect combination of hot days with crisp, cool nights near the ocean results in wines featuring mouth-tingling acidity balanced out with tropical notes.

Sauvignon Blanc changes once again when barrel-fermented or treated with oak as seen in the Loire Valley of France (Pouilly-Fume) or Fume Blanc which can found in Bordeaux, France.

Robert Mondavi found success with his integration of Sauv Blanc with oak barrels in California and many other premium growing areas of the world will use oak to add a layer of complexity and an edge of smokiness into the wine.

Not every wine is created equal and it should be noted that if you’d like to begin exploring this particular style, the amount you’re willing to pay will reflect on the quality you will experience.

For instance, the Woodbridge Sauv Blanc was a great price (under $15) and came with a free bag of chips but it was out of balance and slightly unrefined.

Not that comparisons are fair when putting two wines side by side but the White Cliff Sauv Blanc blows away the Woodbridge for its high-quality flavors and decent price point.

If you want to taste the oaked versions then you should expect to pay at least $30 a bottle for the experience.

Try some Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, France, Canada, USA and New Zealand and check out the differences for yourself!

Scallops, shrimp, freshly grilled veggies, halibut, trout, steamed clams or fresh goat’s cheese pair perfectly with Sauvignon Blanc so get on the deck and crack that bottle! Here are my wine picks of the week!

White Cliff Sauvignon Blanc 2020: (Marlborough, New Zealand). Dry to off-dry white, pale lemon color with green reflections. An intense nose of green herbs, citrus peel, mowed grass, sea spray, asparagus and tropical fruit (guava and passionfruit) leaps from the glass.

Intense and flavorful on the palate with medium-plus acidity and medium-minus body. This white is tangy and bright with saline hints, floral notes, herbaceous flavors and a rush of citrus zest. The acidity makes this wine palate cleansing which allows those tropical and citrus flavors to pop!

Excellent balance and intensity with sharp, crisp acidity. Perfect pairing is bacon-wrapped scallops (or shrimp) or soft goat cheese with freshly chopped herbs. Very good! $23, 13% ABV

Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc 2019: (California, USA). Off-dry white, pale lemon color. Green peppers burst from the glass followed by asparagus, green veggies, capsicum, passionfruit, guava and hints of banana.

The palate is not as intense as the nose but still full of flavors like green pepper, saline sea mist, mowed grass clippings and then tropical fruit and saline notes. The acidity feels slightly flat and the body too full creating a flabby wine. The finish is quick and features a watery quality with a touch of gassiness. I was disappointed in the quality level even at the lower price.

I rate it as Average. It will do better with foods like herb-crusted chicken or pork chops with herbs de provence. $14, 12.5% ABV

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Aaron Winsor is a Prince Albert resident who currently holds a WSET Level 3 certification in wine and will never turn down a good cigar or whisky. Check out his Instagram and Facebook page under Aaron The Wine Guy for wine, whisky and cigar reviews