Magazine article Sunset

Discover Sauvignon Blanc. (the Wine Guide)

Magazine article Sunset

Discover Sauvignon Blanc. (the Wine Guide)

Article excerpt

With this issue, Karen MacNeil Fife begins a series on how to enjoy wine every day.

Maybe it's freshness or food friendliness. But after decades of being something of a downtrodden stepsister to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc has emerged as the Cinderella of white wines. It has never been more exciting, more dynamic, and more delicious. I recently tasted some 60 Sauvignon Blancs, and wine after wine was crisp, sassy fresh-tasting, and packed with flavor. A bonus: Sauvignon Blancs are among the best-priced wines in the West right now

The name

Sauvignon comes from the French word sauvage, which means "wild." It's a reference to how the vine grows, but also an apt description of the wine's flavor. Don't be confused by the term Fume Blanc; wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes can, by law, be called either Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc. But even though fume is French for "smoked," it's not true that those labeled Fume Blanc have a smoky flavor.

That flavor

There's nothing shy about this wine. An avalanche of green herbal notes (which is one of the reasons it works well with food--herbs being an asset to most dishes) gives way to all sorts of fascinating permutations, from green tea to green figs to melons and limes, with a streak of refreshing acidity that makes it feel crisp and snappy on your palate. …

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