Moments ago, I took the photo to the left. It’s the view from WineCollective headquarters in Calgary.
We are in week two of April, but we’re still layering our clothing and cranking the heat. Typical for this otherwise awesome city, the weather refuses to cooperate with my stir-crazy plans for wine on a patio. I miss Spring!
Fortunately, it’s bound to show up sooner or later, so I’m going to forge ahead with entry #1 in our Spring wine series. Over the next few months, we’ll look at wines that match the season and pair well with the lighter, fresher fare of warmer weather.
I’d like to begin with my personal favourite, Sauvignon Blanc, because I immediately think of this varietal when the days get brighter. If Spring represents newness and vibrancy, then the fresh, lively flavours of the season are a natural match for this wine.
Sauvignon Blanc has a colourful history, with speculative origins (possibly a relative of savagnin) and popular offspring (along with Cabernet Franc, it is parent to worldwide varietal hit, Cabernet Sauvignon). Performing exceptionally well collaboratively, it’s also a frequent partner in aromatic white blends, such as Australian Semi-Sauvs.
Originating in Bordeaux, the Sauvignon Blanc variety has been cultivated worldwide since first migrating to Chile in the 19th century. California came next, the first cuttings arriving in the 1880s, and the varietal became popularized in 1968 as Fumé Blanc by acclaimed Napa vintner, Robert Mondavi. The grape has enjoyed great success in New Zealand (check out the 2011 Cottesbrook Sauvignon Blanc from our February packages) since the 90s, where the maritime climate is considered by some critics to produce the best Sauv Blancs in the world.
The diversity of the regions producing Sauvignon Blanc is reflected in the wines that emerge from each area. The cooler climates of the Loire Valley deliver more minerality and Sauvs that pair with fresh raw seafood (think sushi). Australian blends often show grassy, herbaceous elements and are fantastic with fresh spring salads with asparagus, pea-shoots, and Fava Beans. Grapes from New Zealand and Argentina tend to produce wines that are citrus focused with intense flavours of lemon or grapefruit that work well with grilled fish and Greek cuisine featuring green onions, olives and feta.
This month, we’re featuring an excellent representation of Chilean Sauvignon Blancs on WineCollective with the Veramonte Sauvignon La Gloria Reserva (pictured, right).
True to the regionally characteristic lively, racy expression, this vibrant Sauv falls into the citrusy category, but has also collected some herb and minerality with its age. Refreshing, palate cleansing, and with high acidity, this is a wine that can be enjoyed with spicy, Asian cuisine. Enjoy!
While Sauvignon Blanc is my personal favourite, there are many great springtime wines that I look forward to exploring in the months to come. In the meantime, while we wait in stubborn parts of Canada for a little greenery, we’d love to hear from you!
What are your favourite Spring wines?