Celebrate National Sauvignon Blanc Day with Briscoe’s Best of the Blanc

It’s Sauvignon Blanc Day. That really doesn’t mean anything, but my site is just over a year old and I’ve now got a good wine archive going. So I thought I’d celebrate with a little grape variety/wine varietal 101 and my top SB reviews.

Sauvignon Blanc grape field; Sancerre, France

Sauvignon blanc is a noble grape variety that traces its origins back to Bordeaux. It was the famed vintner Charles Wetmore (founder of the first Livermore Valley winery, Cresta Vineyards) who brought the first Sauvignon Blanc cuttings to California in the 1880s. In fact, Wetmore’s first 1884 vintage won Grande Prize in the 1889 Paris Exposition, virtually placing California on the wine-making map.

Sauvignon Blanc loves cooler-climated California regions (like Livermore or Lake County), as it’s a late budder, but early harvester — the fragile fruit is not meant to hang on the vine too long. Warmer regions who do plant the Sauvignon Blanc grape tend to produce extremely fruit-forward style wines.

But the thing about Californian Sauvignon Blanc is that — much like our French parentage — winemakers can give the grape different expressions, not just based on soil and climate, but also on the vintners choices during the winemaking process.

Take a look at my list and see what I mean.

Clos Pegase 2016 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

The Clos Pegase 2016 Mitsuki’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc Musqué. Sauvignon Blanc Musqué is a Sauvignon Blanc clone, mutated from the original grape, which tends to offer more musky aromas and a creamy mouthfeel in the wines produced. Read the full review.

Hall Wines 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc enters as clean and clear as water. The acid, subtle at first, slowly rises to a good medium level and maintains that level consistently through to the finish. Let the wine settle on your tongue. There’s a background texture that’s nearly indecipherable — something that gives this light and lively white wine the slightest bit of substance, almost sturdiness. But as quickly as you think it, it fades away. I encourage you to play with it, try to catch it. (It’s a bit like the [white] rabbit hopping away.) Read the full review.

Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Fumé Blanc 2014

Grgich Hill Estate Napa Valley Fumé Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes harvested from the Grgich Hill Estate American Canyon and Carneros vineyards (about 80% of which is planted to the Musqué clone). Biodynamically-minded, Grgich relies on naturally-occurring yeasts during fermentation. The grapes are fermented in both French oak casks (about 80% of the grapes) as well as seasoned French oak barrels. the wine is aged for six months on sur lies in neutral barrels. Read the full review.

Rutherford Ranch 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

I’m not a huge lover of Sauvignon Blanc. Except when I’m craving it. Then I have to have it. It’s big flamboyant floral aromas and fruity flavors that borderline stink of pineapple. Like a gore-y movie that keeps you squinting and squirming through the whole flick and makes you wonder “Dear God, why, am I watching this???” Because sometimes you just want to watch something awful. And sometimes you really want to drink something stinky. It’s just a fact of human nature. And so, if/when you find yourself craving that stereotypical Sauvignon Blanc stink, I do believe that Rutherford Ranch has found a way to present that in a most palatable way. Read the full review.

Looking for more Sauvignon Blanc recommendations, please see a full list of my Sauvignon Blanc reviews.

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