Sauvignon Blanc – a varietal that shines in Niagara-on-the-Lake

[PRESENTED BY WINERIES OF NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE]

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Mark your calendars as May 3rd is International Sauvignon Blanc day! This worldwide celebration takes place annually on the first Friday in May. Since we are only a couple of days away, there is no better time to shine the spotlight on this very popular varietal.

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Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted grape varietals in the world due to its incredible adaptability and versatility. It can produce a wide range of wine styles from dry and crisp to concentrated and sweet. This green-skinned grape variety originally hails from the Bordeaux region of France where it is typically blended with Sémillon to produce white Bordeaux blends and is also used in the production of Sauternes dessert wines. From Bordeaux the grape travelled north to the appellation of Sancerre in the Loire Valley where it is produced as a single varietal.  Today, Sauvignon Blanc grows in many other wine producing regions across the world, with some of the largest plantings in New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, Australia and California.

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Sauvignon Blanc is also produced very successfully here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This varietal experiences late bud-break and ripens early making it very suitable for cooler climate regions. Also, true varietal character is more pronounced in cooler climates, making Niagara-on-the-Lake a perfect home for Sauvignon Blanc. While very adaptable, Sauvignon Blanc does need special care and attention as it can be a demanding cultivar. To obtain the best results grape growers need to ensure balanced conditions and vigour control in the vineyard.

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Sauvignon Blanc is a bright and refreshing wine with great minerality.  In cooler climates like Niagara-on-the-Lake, the wines have higher acidity and more pronounced green flavours of cut grass, green bell pepper, and herbs.  These herbaceous aromas are typically accompanied by citrus, gooseberry and mineral notes. In warmer vintages, the wine can also exhibit more tropical flavours.  In terms of food pairings, due to its zesty acidity and herbaceous aromatics, Sauvignon Blanc works especially well with salads in light vinaigrettes, green vegetables like asparagus and green beans, light seafood dishes and soft cheeses.

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Below is a great selection of Sauvignon Blancs from the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake to enjoy on May 3rd or on any other day of the year:

Drea's 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, $26.50 – 2017 was a cool vintage ideal for the production of fresh, bright and food-friendly wines. This wine was crafted in memory of winemaker Karl J. Kaiser who affectionately called his daughter 'Drea'. Dry and fresh with a bright acidity and classic notes of gooseberry on the nose and palate. Release date May 3rd. Available online at dreawine.com and on-site at Reif Estate Winery.

Inniskillin Wines, 2017 Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc, $20.95 - Bright and lively aromatics of fresh citrus and ripe grapefruit integrate well with flavours of lime, gooseberry and a touch of spice.

Jackson-Triggs, 2017 Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, $20.95 - Bright and fresh, with intense characters of lemon grass, snap peas, tropical fruit and citrus peel. The palate is well structured and supported by firm acidity with juicy notes of grapefruit. A delightfully elegant and finely structured wine.

Konzelmann Estate Winery, 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, $18.95: Vividly aromatic, crisp and elegant. Grassy tones and gooseberry blend with its mouth-watering acidity. Finishing with spicy pear and white pepper to invigorate the palate.

Lakeview Cellars, 2017 Fumé Blanc, $22.95: Crafted from the premium Sauvignon Blanc vines grown in the Niagara Peninsula, this unique Fumé Blanc showcases fresh aromas of tropical and citrus fruit while expressing subtle, toasty notes. The palate bursts with flavours of pineapple and melon, complemented by a soft, smooth finish.

Niagara College Teaching Winery, 2017 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Fume Blanc, $22.95: Barrel fermented and aged on lees for 7 months. The nose shows ripe citrus and tropical fruit notes with undertones of cut grass, flint, clove and smoke. The palate offers fruit and spice flavours with a round mouthfeel and lingering, dry finish.

Pondview Estate Winery, 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, $17.95: Highly aromatic, with intense notes of grapefruit pith that is very reminiscent of many Sauvignon Blancs coming out of the Marlborough region of New Zealand. This wine sits on the lighter side with the crisp citrus notes that are expected from Niagara with a long, dry, refreshing finish.

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