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French by birth, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most important white wine grapes. In Bordeaux, it is often blended with Semillon and sometimes a touch of Muscadelle to create Sauternes, arguably the world’s most famous sweet wine.
Over in the Loire, particularly in the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, Sauvignon Blanc really comes into its own. Here, the climate and varying soil types provide the ideal conditions for the vines to thrive, and the resulting wines often reflect distinct site-specific characteristics.
In the mid-1980s, New Zealand’s pioneering winemaker David Hohnen introduced a unique style of Sauvignon Blanc that made many wine enthusiasts sit up and take notice. Defined by a heady fruit-forward expression with bright lively acidity, it proved so successful that it became a benchmark for Sauvignon Blancs in the New World. To today, Marlborough remains one of the most significant sites for Sauvignon Blanc on the international wine stage.
Given its vibrancy and versatility, Sauvignon Blanc lends itself well particularly to various types of Asian cuisines. Here are five of our recommendations.
1. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (2014)
Marlborough, New Zealand
Founded by David Hohnen in the 1980s, Cloudy Bay played a significant role in putting New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs on the world map. Its style is often regarded as the quintessential expression of the Marlborough region, boasting pristine characters such as lime, lemon, grapefruit, lemongrass, fennel, and nectarine. The wine is hugely enjoyable alongside salads, sashimi, and Teochew-style steamed pomfret.
Available in Cold Storage and other fine wine retailers.
2. Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc (2014)
Adelaide Hills, Australia
One of the most gorgeous Sauvignon Blancs to come out of Australia, this wine is made in the cooler spot of Adelaide Hills. Unlike the overtly green, grassy herbaceous styles usually associated with its antipodean sibling, this Sauvignon Blanc draws one in with a riper, fuller expression, offering alluring notes of grapefruit, passion fruit, and citrus with balance and freshness. Have this with baked cod, grilled lobsters, or cereal butter prawns.
Available in Cold Storage, 1855 The Bottle Shop, and Bacchus at Paragon.
3. Weingut Sattlerhof Kranachberg Sauvignon Blanc (2013)
Austria isn’t a country that immediately comes to mind when one mentions Sauvignon Blanc, but there are several producers here that have been putting out remarkable labels that deserve global attention. Among them is Sattlerhof in Styria, who has been consistently making high quality Sauvignon Blanc from vines planted in some of the finest sites of the region. The wine boasts charming complexity and finesse, with plenty to offer both on the nose and palate. It’s best enjoyed with freshly shucked oysters, cold cuts, and roast chicken.
Available in Ampelia Fine Wines.
4. Henri Bourgeois La Demoiselle de Bourgeois Pouilly-Fume (2013)
Loire Valley, France
Henri Bourgeois’ La Demoiselle de Bourgeois from the Pouilly-Fume appellation is a fine example of skilfully crafted Loire Sauvignon Blanc — it opens with delicate fruit aromatics on the nose, leading to a palate noted for its depth, texture, roundness, and length. Match this with shellfish, frog leg porridge, or roast pork.
Available in Bacchus at Paragon.
5. Alphonse Mellot Les Romains Sancerre Blanc (2011)
Loire Valley, France
It’s been said that Alphonse Mellot is a beacon of quality among its peers, and it’s not hard to see why — the expression and character of Mellot’s Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes thought to evoke the great white wines of Burgundy. Les Romains is made from fruit harvested from older vines, and displays crisp polished characters of citrus, white flowers, and nuts with a savoury nuance. It’s by no means an inexpensive wine, but what it has to offer is extraordinary. Serve it to go along with poultry, salmon, or Peking duck.