Now that we're heartily encouraged to consume an entire bottle of wine in one sitting, perhaps we should consider what kind of vino we should be partaking in. Given that it's summer and white wines abound, let's take a closer look at Sauvignon Blanc, the green-skinned grape that originated in—where else?—France. Sauvignon Blanc has a much wider base now, with vineyards on multiple continents turning out wonderfully tart, fruity and refreshing vintages each with their own unique terroir, which leads us to today's celebration of International Sauvignon Blanc Day.
But let's begin where it all...began. In the Bordeaux region of France, which still produces beautiful Sauvignon Blanc for less money than you'd imagine from such a hoity toity wine country.
If your palate skews more to the fruit flavors, then the 2012 Château Bonnet Blanc, a citrusy and floral wine from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, will suit you quite well. It's actually a blend of three different grapes, with Sauvignon accounting for more than half and Semillon and Muscadelle making up the rest. It's smooth and easily drinkable, with a "ripe yellow peach" aftertaste, according to the experts. Find it at K&D Wines for $10.99 a bottle.
Just northeast in France's Loire Valley lies Sancerre, which City Wine Tours chief wine ambassador Wesley Narron calls the "spiritual heartland" of Sauvignon Blanc. Narron recommends Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Porte du Caillou 2012, explaining that "the secret of Sancerre that can't be replicated anywhere else in the world? Kimmeridgian limestone: a soft soil made from fossilized seashells, makes this wine the perfect accompaniment to, uh, shellfish. And Henri Bourgeois? They're the original Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, making wine here for the past 10 generations! Grapefruit, lemongrass, and chalky minerality combine for a transcendent wine." Find it at Morrell for $23 a bottle.
Further east you'll arrive in Burgundy, which is as famous for its truffles as it is its wine. Co-owner of Bed-Stuy's Bed-Vyne Michael Brooks digs the 2012 Domaine Felix Saint-Bris, which he says is "drinking fantastic" at the moment. Brooks categorizes the wine as crisp, with a medium body and aromas of gooseberry and lime. Flavor-wise, look for lemon and mango and a nice mineral note. As with most Sauvinon Blanc, the wine pairs very well with goat cheese. Find it at Bed-Vyne for $13.99 a bottle.
New Zealand has become a huge exporter of excellent Sauvignon Blanc that can be similar to their predecessors in the Loire Valley, which has a similar climate. Cameron Douglas, the Master Sommelier and Wine Consultant at Kiwi-focused restaurant The Musket Room, explains that the wines are "packed with a mix of lively ripe fruits (lemon, grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit), and can be a little grassy too." He likes the Ant Moore Sauvignon Blanc, calling it "absolutely traditional to a 'T'" and describing it as "tropical, herbaceous, grassy and with a smidge of bell-pepper, and a fresh tingling acidity." Find it at The Musket Room by the bottle.
Meanwhile, Wesley Narron loves the Sileni Estates Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, dubbing it the best deal under $15 for the area. From Narron: "Cool fermented in stainless steel, with tropical and gooseberry flavors, and a hint of zesty lime / lemongrass? Impeccably balanced, juicy, and refreshing." Find it at 67 Wine for $9.99 a bottle.
Our on homegrown versions shouldn't be discounted, with California vineyards leading the nation's Sauvignon Blanc production. The Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc is a great budget option, running around $10 at most wine and liquor stores. This Central Coast wine boasts notes of grapefruit, lemon and herbs; it's crisp and refreshing due to the ocean climate where the grapes are grown. Find it at Diplomat Wines & Spirits.