Celebrating International Sauvignon Blanc Day

Always celebrated on the first Friday each May, this year International Sauvignon Blanc Day falls on Friday, May 1. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world and produces a beautifully aromatic white wine known for its luscious fruit notes of citrus, peach, apple, passionfruit, and herbaceous notes of bell pepper, gooseberry, and grass. Sauvignon Blanc in the glass is typically medium to medium-high in acidity, which gives it that wonderful mouthwatering refreshing quality. Where the grape grows and where the wine is produced, however, makes all the difference in the world as far as what ends up in the glass.

Very popular in France, Sauvignon Blanc is thought to have originated in the Bordeaux region. When you are enjoying a bottle of white Bordeaux, you are enjoying the Sauvignon Blanc grape, often blended with Semillion and in some sub-regions, such as Pessac-Léognan and Graves, aged in neutral oak barrels, resulting in a fuller bodied, richer style wine with aging potential. Further north in the Loire Valley of France, Sauvignon Blanc is the white grape of Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, which can be described as crisp, fresh, and elegant in the glass.

New Zealand produces some of the most well-known Sauvignon Blancs to consumers in the United States. Unlike French versions which offer aging potential, most Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand are intended to be consumed young and fresh. These wines display intense and pungent notes of grapefruit and gooseberry, as well as distinct green flavors of cut grass, bell pepper, and passionfruit. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand has a recognizable zing of crisp acidity, whereas their French counterparts offer a bit more richness and roundness on the palate.

When I was sourcing the wines for our portfolio at Sail to Trail WineWorks, I felt it was very important to source a Sauvignon Blanc that fell somewhere in the middle of both the French and New Zealand styles and offered the perfect balance. I looked to the Central Coast of California, and found exactly what I was looking for.

Our  Sauvignon Blanc is delightfully crisp without being overpowering. With lively notes of citrus, candied lemons, and stone fruits, this is a refreshing wine that can easily stand alone as a porch sipper. In the tasting room, this is the wine I see fly out the door more than any other, as it appeals to dry and sweet white wine lovers alike, as well as red wine lovers. Although a dry wine, the fruit is so pronounced, some might interpret that as a touch of sweetness on the palate.

I find Sauvignon Blanc one of the easiest wines to pair with food, regardless of its region of origin. With its pronounced herbaceous notes, it is a homerun when paired with foods featuring various herbs such as cilantro, basil, or mint. With its high acidity, herbed goat cheese is a perfect and effortless match. Lighter fare such as seafood and salads are fail-proof go-to pairings.

A Tale of Two Sauvignon Blancs

Traveling Vineyard has released two long awaited Sauvignon Blancs! I immediately ordered a bottle of each so I could “test them out” (haha, tough job) and see first hand what the differences are. Tasting them both together was a great way to see the differences, because I honestly don’t know if the differences are SO noticeable that one could tell them apart without the side-by-side.

jitterbugluloframeOur 2014 Lulo Sauvignon Blanc is from Dry Creek Valley, California and sourced from the Dry Creek Vineyard estate, which was the first new winery in the Dry Creek Valley appellation after prohibition. It also contains fruit from the Clarksburg appellation. Lulo is 99% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Semillon, which gives it a little Bordeaux style roundness. It was aged in temperature controlled stainless steel with no oak.

Our 2014 Jitterbug Sauvignon Blanc is from mostly Clarksburg, California, with some fruit sourced from Dry Creek Valley and the Russian River Valley. It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc aged in temperature controlled stainless steel only.

Right off the bat, they are both crisp, clean, light and refreshing with plenty of fruit. The acidity is very well balanced and doesn’t give that piercing, mouthwatering feeling on the tongue, which I think will appeal to a wide audience really well. The main difference between these two very similar wines: Lulo is definitely a bit smoother and has a nice rounded out finish. Jitterbug is a bit more citrusy, as far as the “feel” of citrus on the tongue. It was a bit sharper, for lack of better terms, but just slightly.

lulofruit jitterbugfruit

Pairing: I paired them both with the same pairings. Macadamia nuts smoothed them both right out, as this nut will do with any acidic white.

Next up: meat rolls. We had rolls of ham, roast beef, turkey, and provolone all rolled up as one. This was fantastic with both wines, so a chef’s salad would be great with these wines, deli platters, ham and cheese sandwiches, Italian subs, muffalettas, etc. would be a delight. A great cold cut wine! I found Jitterbug brought out more of the meat flavors, and Lulo expressed more citrus fruit with this pairing. So interesting to note: Jitterbug brought out the food flavors where the meat rolls brought out the fruit flavors in Lulo. Opposite effect!

Next up: spinach dip with Stacey’s pita chips. This was phenomenal with both wines, but interestingly once again brought out two different aspects of each wine. Jitterbug made the spinach flavor itself stand out, while Lulo seemed to express a more herbal quality. Just like with the meat rolls, Jitterbug complimented the food and brought out the food flavors, while the food brought out the flavors in Lulo.

lulospinachdip jitterbugspinachdip

Finally dinner: tossed some marinated chicken on the grill and grilled up some fresh pineapple rings. WOW! The chicken, grilled pineapple, and wine in the mouth at the same time was a fruit explosion! I can’t say which one I liked better, because they were both amazing with this pairing.

jitterbuggrilledchickpineapple lulogrilledchickenpineapple

We also boiled jumbo shrimp in Mojo seasoning. The shrimp/grilled pineapple/wine combo was just as good, because the Mojo seasoning has just a little kick of spice and citrus to it. We made a green salad and topped it with freshly grated lemongrass and then dressed with with olive oil and lemon juice. Simply fantastic!

luloshrimpsalad jitterbugshrimpsalad

So my opinion? They are both incredible wines, especially for the summer weather and summer fare! If I had to choose one, which would I choose? Depends on the situation. Jitterbug has an amazing capacity for bringing out the flavors of its food pairings, so if I’m all about showcasing the food, I might go for Jitterbug. Lulo, on the other hand, is so smooth and has incredibly refreshing fruits coming forward when paired with food, so if I’m all about showcasing the wine, then I might go for Lulo. Either make a fantastic sipping wine. You’ll note I used a lot of lemon and citrus in these dishes… that was no mistake. These are two very acidic wines, and lemon will smooth out that acidity. I also wanted to bring the fruit notes forwards, which is why I used fresh lemongrass and grilled pineapple.

My customers already LOVE these wines, and the pairings are simple. Anything acidic and citrusy, anything acidic like goat cheese and various dairy based dips and spreads, cold cuts and sandwiches, salads, and certainly anything with some spice to it. This will be a fantastic sushi pairing wine

I brought Lulo to one of my in-home wine tastings last weekend, and we paired it with three-cheese artichoke dip and bbq chicken. It was a HUGE hit!

luloartichokedip lulobbqchicken

I have never been a huge Sauvignon Blanc fan, but Lulo and Jitterbug have completely changed that! These are now two of my absolute favorites! Interested in trying them for yourself! You can have them delivered right to your door! Order at www.winedowntastings.com

Cheers!
Missa
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