Rigal Sauvignon Blanc: Another Sauvignon Blanc From an Unexpected Location
Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 12:24PM

I feel that Sauvignon Blanc aptly demonstrates the effect that climate and terroir can have on a wine. Sauvignon Blanc is grown all over the world, but originates in Bordeaux. The stylistic variations that exist between Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, California, New Zealand, Bordeaux, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and Italy are markedly pronounced, and can only fully be accounted for if one accepts that climate and terroir do influence the character of a wine.

While most wine drinkers associate Sauvignon Blanc with as originating from Sancerre, California, and New Zealand, the grape truly can be found all over the globe. Even though within France, the most heralded location for Sauvignon Blanc is Sancerre, you can find examples of the grape in Burgundy, perhaps the world's most famous source of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as Bordeaux, where many think the grape originated. There is also a school of thought that traces Sauvignon Blanc's origins to Gascogne, in Southern France, just south of Bordeaux. The other day, while tasting wines with Brad Kelley of Burlington Wine Shop, I was fortunate enough to encounter such a wine in the 2010 Rigal Sauvignon Blanc

The Rigal Sauvignon Blanc is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc, but at $7.99, it's definitely a weeknight wine that is worth getting to know. From the 2010 vintage, the wine is showing its age, but still drinking well, showing a honeyed character, with warm fruit flavors and aromas. It's a great example of the evolution of a white wine. Whites tend to become less acidic as they age, and take on deeper, richer flavors. They also darken in color, moving along a spectrum of: Pale Yellow Green --> Straw Yellow --> Yellow Gold --> Gold --> Old Gold --> Yellow Brown --> Maderized --> Brown.

I described this wine as a "Chardonnay lover's Sauvignon Blanc," and I'd be curious to see who would agree with me. If you're looking for a wine with rich, warm fruit flavors, that will pair perfectly with richer seafood dishes, this is for you. At the very least, you'll get to try a Sauvignon Blanc from a most unexpected location, but one which may be the grape's ancestral home.

Article originally appeared on Truth In Juice: Wine Education & Commentary (http://www.truthinjuice.com/).
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