March 2009

Sauvignon Blanc Wine tasting notes: Saturday, March 21st, 2009tastemarch2

Members of the PSAWBC met at the home of Tom and Claudia Vedvick to learn about and taste various Sauvignon Blanc varietal wines.  Sauvignon Blanc is a green skinned grape variety that originates in the Bordeau region of France.  The grape gets its name from the French Word Sauvage (Wild) and blanc (white).  This grape is known to bud late and ripen early which allows it to perform well in sunny climates.  This grape is cultivated around the world with Sauvignon Blanc wines being widely available from France, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California and Washington.  Sauvignon Blanc is a very food friendly wine due to its high acidity it pairs well with salads, fish, oysters, raw garlic, cilantro, smoked cheeses and so forth.  Sauvignon Blanc is a noble variety of grape and has been shown by ampelographers to be the mother of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc being the father.

The most salient characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc wine is its distinct, penetrating aroma, which can evoke scents of grapefruit, lime, green melon, gooseberry, passion fruit freshly mown grass and bell pepper.  When grown in cooler climates and in fertile soils promoting excessive vine growth, herbaceous smells and flavors can dominate the character of Sauvignon Blanc wine while in warmer regions, the melon, citrus and passion fruit aromas and flavors emerge.

March Taste to LearnIn the end, one of Sauvignon Blanc’s most compelling traits is the way it feels in the mouth.  It’s snappy, kinetic, alive.  It’s lean and taut, not round and plump; it’s Jamie Lee Curtis, not Marily Monroe.  This is because Sauvignon Blancs have a lot of perceptible acidity that you can feel going right up through the middle of the wine.  Not surprisingly, it’s this vibrant acidity that makes Sauvignon Blanc one of the best all-around whites for pairing with food.  Sauvignon Blanc wine is an acquired taste sort of like Sushi, Sauvignon Blanc wine is a rite of passage.  In the beginning, you’re not sure you like it.  The next few experiences are a little more intriguing.  After a year or so you’re smitten.  What is it about Sauvignon Blanc wine that is so seductive?  It’s hard to say, because Sauvignon Blanc is clearly the bad girl of white wines.  The very word Sauvignon comes from the French Sauvage, meaning wild, unruly, unleashed.  It isn’t tame, it isn’t polite is doesn’t even wear matching earrings.

There were 7 different Sauvignon Blanc Wines tasted:

Winery                                 Place                       Points                       Price                            Origin

1. Kim Crawford                     1                            17.5                       $16.00                       New Zealand

2. Hogue Terrior                     2                           16.7                        $18.00                       Washington

3. Dry Creek                           3                            16                           $11.00                        California

4. Chateau St. Michelle           3                           16                          $ 9.00                         Washington

5. Hogue                                 5                           15.78                      $15.00                        Washington

6. Cor                                      6                           13.25                     $15.00                        Washington

7. Columbia Crest                   7                            13.2                     $  5.50                        Washington

The class started with a tasting test of selecting how a base wine had been “doctored” and the class finished with a written test on general wine knowledge and knowledge of Sauvignon Blanc Wine.  Want to test your self?

1.    Why are roses grown at the end of vineyard rows?
2.    What is the chemical process called when ethanol is converted acetaldehyde?  Or what is a wine called that has noticeable amounts of acetaldehyde.
3.    What do Ampelographers do?
4.    Why is Sauvignon Blanc wine so food friendly?
5.    Sauvignon Blanc was shown to be a parent of what popular red variety?
6.    Some Sauvignon Blanc wines have a unique aroma characteristic, what is it?
7.    Sauvignon  Blanc is a noble variety of Grape, yes or no?
8.    Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc are the same thing, Yes or no?
9.    The first cuttings of this grape came to the US in the late 1880?  Yes or no.
10.    In France and to a lesser extent California, Sauvignon Blanc wine is often blended with Semillon.  True or False?


1.    Rose bushes are a sentinel for mildew detection.
2.    Oxidation is the name of the chemical process and oxidized is what we call a wine with appreciable amounts of Acetaldehyde.
3.    Ampelographers are grape vine plant geneticists.
4.    Sauvignon Blanc wine is food friendly because of its high acidity.
5.    Cabernet Sauvignon
6.    Cat Pee
7.    yes
8.    Yes
9.    Yes
10.    True