gerovassiliou_malagousia2004_t2.jpgWhat’s there not to like about Sauvignon Blanc? When it’s good, it can be like spring in a glass – lively acidity, bright citrus notes wrapped up in grassy aromas. Just thinking about it, your taste buds perk up with interest. During the summer, we usually keep a bottle or two at the ready (usually a Sancerre) to help quench our cravings. But leave it to us to overdo a good thing (don’t even ask us about the Doughnut Plant binge), so we went in search of alternatives that give us the excitement of the Sauvignon Blanc with a little twist. Our taste buds seem to be pleased with where we ended up.

2005 Domaine Gerovassiliou, Epanomi Malagousia (Greece)
Available for $17.99 at Astor Wines

What? Please don’t ask us to pronounce this; it took us over a year and help from our friend’s Greek grandma to learn how to say “agiorgitiko”. Malagousia, an ancient Greek grape variety has a lot of character and intense aromatics like the Sauvignon Blanc grape. When you bring the glass to your nose, you’re greeted with floral and citrus aromas. On the palate are notes of lime, minerality and ripe peaches. It tastes almost as exotic as it sounds.

2005 Bodegas Aldial Naia, Rueda, (Spain)
Available for $13.99 at Union Square Wines

This white wine from the Rueda region in Spain is made from the Verdejo grape and tends to be a very easy transition from Sauvignon Blanc since it shares many the same characteristics: citrus, crisp acidity and a slight herbaceous quality. Truth be told, in blind tastings, we’ve been know to confuse a Rueda and a Sancerre on more than one occasion (oh, the shame). This is a great afternoon sipping wine with its refreshing notes of grapefruit, lime and minerality.

2005 Chateau Lamothe de Haux Bordeaux Blanc (France)
Available for $12.99 at Union Square Wines

Ok, so technically this wine is a Sauvignon Blanc, but it has a little twist. What makes this wine a little different is it is blended with Semillon which adds a touch of richness to the wine and slight aromas of stone fruits. What this all translates to is a glass of wine with intense aromatics of citrus (grapefruit) notes, minerality and a touch of peach. After a moment or two in the glass, this young wine opens up to an intense yet soft white with crisp acidity, loads of flavor and a long, smooth finish. It’s as if Sauvignon Blanc went to finishing school.

This should keep us occupied for at least a few weeks until we overdo it again – then we move on to beer. The only thing better than Sauvignon Blanc in summer is a great wheat beer in the fall. Who needs moderation when you have variety?