What makes Sauvignon Blanc so compelling is its expressiveness of the site and soil – or terroir – in which it is grown. A relatively vigorous grape with an herbaceous quality resembling its offspring Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc produces highly aromatic, crisp white wines marked by aromas of pear, citrus, melon and grass when properly ripened. Sauvignon grown in the calcium-rich soils of the cool Loire Valley in France exhibits certain earthy qualities such as smoke and wet stone, whereas in Bordeaux it is marked by grassy herbal notes and is often softened by blending with the Semillon grape and aged in oak. This wine is ideal for a hot summer day. Serve chilled with fresh, light fare.
Laporte Le Bouquet Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Loire Valley, France
With a striking profile of gunflint, citrus and fresh-cut herbs on the nose, this wine from Sancerre – arguably the world’s finest Sauvignon Blanc region – bursts with lemon and pineapple on the palate with underlying pink grapefruit and a slightly honeyed extraction. Nice zesty finish. This wine is a welcome guest at any picnic or barbecue and works particularly well with fried chicken with all the fixings, with shrimp and vegetable kabobs, or at a clambake.
$15.99; Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Ave., Richmond Heights, parkerstable.com
Chateau Lamothe de Haux 2010
Blended with the Semillon grape for texture, this wine epitomizes Bordeaux Blanc, with a softer frame to its acidity, hints of florals, sturdy wet stone notes and a lemony, invigorating finish. Serve with steamed mussels with fennel and tomato, grilled artichokes with cream sauce or baked fish with Thai lemon-mint sauce.
$13.50; Balaban’s Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar, 1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, balabanswine.com
A St. Louis-based wine and food enthusiast, Jennifer Johnson is a sommelier, wine educator, journalist, and hospitality and marketing consultant who loves to celebrate life, family, food and wine.