The prolonged. blistering heat wave here in the Napa-Sonoma area pushed
many of us into re-thinking about the best wine to beat the sizzling summer heat.
Anyone paying attention to trends would immediately suggest Rose wines since pink wines are being touted by everyone, everywhere, Or so it seems.
Nest up on the trendy charts would likely be a craft brew, a tangy IPA comes to mind.
Though personally delighted to see the new excitement around Rose wines and a major fan of IPAs, I’m looking at a long hot spell and the possibility of this being a recurring pattern (yes, I’m thinking climate change.). So, I’m interested in a long-term solution.
Besides, so far in my experience many Roses now playing to rave reviews are hardly cheap as in over $20 for a summer sipper and not always as dry as advertised.
The goal is a summer sipper. No need for a 94 point blockbuster Rose which, I believe, is an oxymoron. Whispering Angle may be a “hot” seller, but it is really not worth 20 bucks.
Honestly, you might be better off buying a cheap Pinot Noir, adding an ice-cube or two, and a twist of lemon for a more satisfying experience.
So, returning to white wines and to finally get to the main point: Sauvignon Blanc is the obvious choice. The best are fresh, zesty, medium-with (not syrupy or ponderous like typical Chardonnay), offer a range of tropical fruit and, the clincher, they can stand up to a big chilling.
Lately, I’ve enjoyed several fine Albarinos which are another good choice for many of the same reasons.
But what makes me stand behind Sauvignon as the ideal summer sipper is its availability and, best of all, so many outstanding examples are priced below $20.
If you are with me, the easiest online shopping if you don’t want to work up a sweat is to open www.wine.com where you will find hundreds of Sauvignons offered. In the under $20 category, it lists 463.
Many wines are discounted and wine.com always has some added incentives. Currently, first time buyers get $20 off an order of $100. Usually there’s a shipping deal on a case, sometimes on 6 bottles,
In my recent tasting experiences, In the under $20 bracket, Chile dominates with New Zealand a strong second.
Okay, sure, we should try to Buy American. But, frankly, the low-end Sauvignons from the likes of Murphy-Goode, Joel Gott, Dark Horse, Geyser Peak are disappointingly bland and zest-less.
There are many other bland brands without a soul.
For lively, zesty, true to type Sauvignons, check out those from Chile’s cooler regions: Casablanca, Limari, and Leyda.
My personal favorite turns out to be one of the least expensive, 20 Santa Carolina Reserva which offers all of the fresh tropical fruit you’d expect in a fine wine with the bonus of rich, smooth texture and good acidity. Santa Rita offers several Sauvignons, and the cheapest, the “120” is hard to beat at $6.99.
Matetic is another Chilean winery with several fine Sauvignons well worth your attention. Look for the Matetic “Corralillo” or the Leyda Valley Sauvignon
From New Zealand, you can’t go wrong with Sauvignons from Brancott, Villa Maria, Gissen and The Crossings.
Many of you might be wondering, “What about Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc?” Well, it is everywhere…in every supermarket, in every wine shop,mega-store, and in every corner liquor store.
No need to look for Kim online.
Here are my top -12 recommended Summer Sipping Sauvignon Blancs:
2016 Santa Carolina Reserva, Leyda Valley, Chile $9.99
2016 Matetic EQ Coastal, Chile $16.99
2016 Santa Rita Reserva, Casablanca, Chile $9.99
2016 Vina Leyda Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley $16.99
2015 Gissen NZ Marlborough, $11.99
2014 Château La Verriere Blanc, Bordeaux $13.99
2016 Santa Rita, Reserva, Chile $9.99
2016 Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, $16.99
2016 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc $12.99
2015 Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, $13.99
2016 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $14.99
2016 La Playa Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Colchagua, Chile $7.99
All are available from www.wine.com and I have no relationship with this website.