What’s so special about sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley? My favorite wine merchant is always telling me about alternatives from New Zealand or California, but he’d really rather I stick to the real article.
Sauvignon blanc is most famous as the grape responsible for Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, two of the most popular and energizing white wines of France. In the eastern portion of the Loire Valley, sauvignon blanc (which is often simply referred to here as sauvignon) produces bracing, aromatically pungent wines with strong citrus and gooseberry tones along with grassy and herbal notes, which in extreme cases or underripe vintages can cross over to green or herbaceous. A whiff of what the French call pipi de chat (cat pee) is also present in many Loire Valley sauvignons; while this element can add a note of complexity in small doses, it can easily become overbearing. The best examples from the Loire Valley display clear mineral nuances and a distinctly dry chalkiness resulting from the limestone-dominated soil. READ MORE »