Posts Tagged ‘muscadet’
A crisp, cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc on a warm afternoon is one of life’s simple pleasures. The zesty tang of the grassy, citrus notes refreshes and revives like a cool breeze. New Zealand has quickly become the favorite country for quality versions of this grape variety, but Chile and South Africa also produce delicious styles as well.
Although Sauvignon Blanc is always a reliable choice, there are other white wines that also deliver the same invigoration. Here are some suggestions for the next time you’re in the mood to try something different.
Muscadet, Loire Valley, France
The region of Muscadet is western most area of the Loire Valley and lies on both sides of the River Loire. Melon de Bourgogne is the only permitted white grape variety of the region and the best examples are grown in the vineyards of the sub-region of Sevre et Maine, where the wines are classically herbaceous, tart and mouth-watering. When a wine is labeled Muscadet de Sevre et Maine ‘sur Lie’, this means the wine has spent time ‘on its lees’ (the dead yeast cells produced during fermentation) which gives the wine a fuller body and richer flavors.
Chenin Blanc, various regions
Chenin Blanc is a fabulously versatile grape – it can be vinified into a dry, sweet or sparkling wine, all of which have great character. The Chenin Blancs that are the closest in style to Sauvignon Blanc are un-oaked allowing the citrus, tropical and green fruit to stand out. The Anjou-Saumur region of the Loire Valley is a good place to find such wines, as is Stellenbosch in South Africa where Chenin Blanc is making an impressive name for itself. Chenin Blanc is also the grape variety of another region in the Loire Valley, Touraine, where in the Vouvray AC (appellation) it will convey a smokiness in youth and with age, will become plump and honeyed. Many fine dessert wines hail from Coteaux du Layon in the Loire, the best from the villages of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume, are all made exclusively with Chenin Blanc.
Gavi, Piedmont, Italy
Gavi is a delightful crowd pleaser – it has all the style expected from fashionable Italy alongside fresh, pleasant acidity and steely lemon characters. Cortese is the grape variety whose greatest expression is found in the Gavi region. The wines are medium-bodied with crisp fruit and powerful aromas and are the perfect aperitif, but also pair well with seafood and light, summertime dishes.
England’s reputation as a wine producing country has never been as good as it is today. The sparkling wines coming from Kent and Sussex are worthy rivals to those of Champagne, but the quality of many of the still wines is lagging behind, with a few exceptions, one of those being wines made from the Bacchus grape variety. Also grown in Germany, this grape is one of few that are able to ripen in a cool climate and has taken well to the climate in southeast England. The wines have similar herbal characteristics and refreshing acidity as Sauvignon Blanc.
Pecorino, Abruzzo, Italy
This wine may take a bit of searching out, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor as the wines are aromatic, minerally, dry and zesty. Trebbiano is a grape variety that best known in the Abruzzo area, but often produces wines of a rather neutral nature whereas Pecorino tends to be more interesting, if harder to find.
Even when the warm summer evenings have faded and the duskiness of autumn and winter approaches, Sauvignon Blanc’s revitalizing appeal doesn’t diminish. So when you are looking for something different to serve your guests or if your palate simply requires a refreshing change, these five wines are a sure remedy.