It’s the other white grape, a beautiful and versatile fruit grown throughout the world. Sauvignon blanc is the oft-ignored little sister of the big California chardonnays. It’s great on its own or paired with food, and picks up distinctive styles depending on where it is grown—though it’s typically always light- to medium-bodied. Sauvignon blanc is much higher in citric acid than chardonnay, making it crisper and cleaner. It generally has little or no oak aging, for those of you tired of oak’s often overwhelming overtones. A simple rule: Drink it with anything you would add lemon to, such as oysters or fish. Or drink it as you would lemonade on a warm spring day.
This month's selections are available at Surdyk's, 303 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-379-3232
Southern Right 2003, Western Cape, South Africa, $17.49
A soft citrus nose with a touch of mineral, it’s grapefruity and a bit tart with a crisp, short finish. The wine is named after the Southern Right whale; a donation toward its conservation is made from every bottle sold. It’s great on its own or with light appetizers, such as cheesy potato skins or sushi.
Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé 2002, Loire Valley, France, $21.49
Fresh and clean with a citrus and rosewater nose, there’s green apple, lemon, and a touch of vanilla on the palate. Its finish is long, soft, and complex. This one is a true example of how delicious sauvignon blanc can be. Pair with scallops for a special dinner.
Whitehall Lane 2003, Napa Valley, $14.99
Comparatively big and rich, with lots of grapefruit and a touch of oak. It’s nonetheless refreshing, with a crispy, clean finish. Big bang for the buck.
Omaka Springs 2004, Marlborough, New Zealand, $16.99
Yum! Big tropical fruit on the nose and tongue. This wine has an herbal, honeyed quality from the 9 percent semillon, which blends perfectly with its rich fruit. I could come up with a reason to drink this with just about anything, but rich seafood (shrimp, lobster) would be best. Please don’t judge it by the twist-off cap—twist-offs are coming whether we like it or not.
Wine columnist Bill Coy, president of Vintage U, organizes wine dinners, tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups and enthusiasts. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.