I f you think you already know Sauvignon, there’s still a kaleidoscopic journey of discovery in your future. Yes, it is much loved for its cut grass, fresh greens and passionfruit fragrance in New Zealand’s Marlborough. But its intrinsic gifts stand out when subtly expressed. SB/S blends combine the grape with shy Semillon in Margaret River especially well. This riffs on the White Bordeaux model where the best are ripe and golden, zesty with fresh pineapple and built out with toasty oak barrel notes.
But the spiritual heartland of Loire’s Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé show that the best sauvignon’s not only about hitting the high tropical notes. Richness, texture, acidity and the ability to gain texture and dimension with bottle age, make this a most intriguing wine. Old vines on chalky soils like the neighbours in Chablis, and limestone like Burgundy, give measured and elegant wines. With lithe freshness and exotic spice, small portions are often fermented in old oak barrels to lend a wonderful textural edge and richness. If you didn’t think savvy measured up to your own chic and continental estimations, these wines should be in your glass.