After my exceptional experience with Benziger Family Winery Merlot I knew I had found yet another reputable wine producer that I can afford to experiment with. I mean, if they can excel at something that, until recently, has been bland and boring in my book (note: I no longer feel this way about the right Merlots), then I knew I could trust them with my Sauvignon Blanc fate. And, again, Benziger, you’ve surpassed my expectations…
Now for those of you following along in my adventures of wine you know that, like Merlot, I came to the wine game with low expectations of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal. It seems like because SB is such an “easy” grape to grow, every wine producer feels the need to make it. The problem with that is there’s no real love in a wine that’s made for that reason. I’ve found that the, shall we say, “less tasty” SBs are, indeed, less tasty because the winemakers aren’t focused on the production — they’ll use a combination of SB grapes from wherever they can get them on the cheap. Granted, these wines are affordable and will have the stereotypical SB “tropical fruit flavors,” and if you’re into that, well that’s fine. But it’s the fact that I had so many of these and that that style isn’t to my personal palate that I thought all SBs weren’t to my palate. Not the case. Read about my personal Sauvignon Blanc recommendations.
Now, I digress. I only wanted to preface this review with my previous thoughts on SB to highlight how picky of an SB drinker I really am. So you can trust me when I recommend a good one. And Benziger Family Winery North Coast Sauvignon Blanc — is a good one.
About the Wine: Benziger Family Winery North Coast Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes harvested from the North Coast appellation of Sonoma County. Yes, this is a large, somewhat broad area, but the thing about Benziger is that they are just as picky about their Sauvignon Blanc as I am. Each vineyard Benziger works with — for any of their available varietals — is certified in green farming practices. As they say, “Whether the vineyard is certified sustainable, organic or Biodynamic, it’s carefully tended with the most eco-responsible methods available.” (Inside info: If visiting Benziger, you can take a “Biodynamic tour” of the estate and learn what that really means in practice.)
What’s more is Benziger is involved with each of these vineyards, taste-testing the grapes from bud to harvest, from juice to wine. Each vineyard’s grapes are kept separate until bottling, and only the best of the barrels make the cut.
The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was aged sur lies in 100% stainless steel drums.
Flavor Profile: On the pour, Benziger North Coast Sauvignon Blanc is such a pale yellow that, in certain light, it’s almost clear. Initial aromas are all about an eclectic orchard of green apple, meyer lemon, and pomelo trees. There’s also a light floral essence in the background, as if there are one or two cherry blossom trees in the orchard as well.
On the palate, the initial texture is quite calm and smooth just on the tip of the tongue with flavors speaking of those subtle floral aromas. As if a swift breeze blows through the orchard, the mid-palate comes quickly and you’ll be overcome with that citrus zest and sour apple notes along with a few greener flavors like fresh cut grass, lemongrass, and other fresh green herbs.
The finish is the kicker. Literally. That sour apple, that citrus, and the wine’s acidity all come to a point leaving your tastebuds standing at attention and your salivary glands, well, salivating. If you’re smart, you’ll serve this wine chilled because if you do so you’ll also get a nice dose of wet stone minerality throughout the tasting that concludes with a bit of bubbly during the finish.
Food Pairing: This wine is so light and lively (a cliché phrase that actually applies here) that it could honestly pair well with almost anything — from a light appetizer of crudité to a full on Thanksgiving feast. Added bonus, Benziger uses screw caps on their white wines, so if you’re a solo wine drinker, this wine could actually last you all week through a variety of meals. (Personally, I find with screw caps on white wine, I get less of that “stale air” scent and taste when opening the wine throughout the week.)
More Info: If you haven’t yet read my review for Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Coast Merlot, please do so. Of course for more information on Benziger, their sustainable practices, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Benziger Family Winery website.
I found the Benziger Family Winery North Coast Sauvignon Blanc at Safeway (Sale Price: $9).
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