Wine & Spirits

A Favorite Grape

It's always nice to write about a favorite grape, and sauvignon blanc is one of mine.

A Favorite Grape

IT'S ALWAYS NICE TO WRITE about a favorite grape, and sauvignon blanc is one of mine. This grape grows all over the world, with flavors and styles that are amazingly distinct to each location and show a true reflection of the local soils and climate. Sauvignon blancs rarely see oak and go through very little, if any, malolactic fermentation (that buttery component in chardonnay). They taste like where they’re from, instead of a winemaker’s whims.

Selection from Zipp’s Liquors, 2618 Franklin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-333-8686,

2011, New Zealand
PRICE: $21.49

I can always tell New Zealand sauvignon blanc from the fragrant, telling nose: tart, fresh, with big tropical fruit, pineapple, and passionfruit. This one is great on its own or with a shrimp salad sandwich.

2010, France
PRICE: $22.49

A more complex version of this grape, it is herbal and elegant with a flowery nose, minerals, and racy acids on the palate. This region, along with Sancerre, is where most of the sauvignon blanc in the world originated. Raw oysters or a big bowl of mussels would make a perfect match.

2011, Chile
PRICE: $9.49

Soft, lemony, and balanced, this wine has a simple style that is clean and refreshing, plus it won’t break the bank. It’s great as a cocktail or with a salad of mixed greens, citrus, and a little goat cheese.


Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at