Exploring the Dimensions of Sauvignon Blanc

Courtesy Brancott Estate
Courtesy Brancott Estate

Sauvignon Blanc is a truly versatile varietal. While lots of people think of the grape as generic and berry-flavored, it actually has a wide spectrum of tastes, ranging from citrusy to buttery to vegetal, grassy and everything in between (editor's note: even cat piss!). Though the grape originates in France, Sauvignon Blanc really gained popularity in New Zealand, the location of winery Brancott Estate, who are multiple medalists in the NY International Wine Competition. For last month's Sauvignon Blanc Day, I was lucky enough to sample five of Brancott’s wines. Here are my thoughts.

Flight Song

Flight Song’s grapes are harvested early on, reducing sugar content and, ultimately, calories. I’m always skeptical about “diet” booze, but Flight Song isn’t some artificially flavored, sucralose packed spritzer, it’s simply a naturally low-calorie wine. Flight Song is truly delightful: very green (expect those characteristic Sauvignon Blanc pepper notes), bright, and gentle for such a dry wine. This is the wine I want to drink every day after work.

Brancott Estate

Like Flight Song, the flagship wine from Brancott Estate was dry with hints of vegetation, but it was also more herbaceous and earthy. I even got potato on the nose, which bloomed into a full on peppery taste. This was a very savory wine, and unlike Flight Song, I think it has the backbone to stand up to starchy foods like focaccia, pasta, or risotto.

Stoneleigh Lattitude

This wine was far more fruity than Flight Song or Estate. Lattitude was simply bursting with tropical fruit – specifically guava. Stone fruit like peach and plums were also present. However, despite the sweet notes, this wine was distinctively funky with some great minerality and bit of salt. With fruits like guava and mango, there’s always that natural balance of tang and sugar, and I think Lattitude captured that beautifully.

Letter Series

I found the taste of this wine fair, but the texture far more interesting. This wine was incredibly oily and thick for a Sauvignon Blanc. It almost had that dessert wine viscous quality – minus the sweetness. On the contrary, it drank fairly dry. I got plenty of spice that makes me believe pairing this with curry or spicy fish would be a good match. You need to have a hearty white like this lying around.

Chosen Rows

This wine – not available in the US – was saved for last in the tasting. My friends, it did not disappoint. Ripe, soft cheese like brie on the nose gave way to a creamy, nutty palate. I got cashews, sweet butter, and just a nod of cream. The finish was exceptionally long, but not in a way that makes you want to rinse your mouth out. Chosen Rows had the effect of what a good Port does for me, it ends the meal – in this case, the liquid meal.

Aliza Kellerman is a Staff Writer at VinePair, where she writes about all things boozy. She can be found @aleezabeeza.