One of the first wines I drank in my early 20’s was Sauvignon Blanc. The Mateus Rosé we were initiated into wine drinking with was becoming too sweet for the palate and we needed a value dry wine to pair with Aussie Garlic Prawns. Out jumped an inexpensive bottle of Entre-Deux-Mers! The name Entre-Deux-Mers comes from marée, the French word for tide. The two rivers are subject to the influence of ocean tides, and the region is thus entre deux marées , or “between two tides”. Mouton Cadet was our brand –a light-bodied, dry, refreshing white wine with flavours of lemon, white peach and notes of white flower blossoms.
Sauvignon Blanc is grown all over the world but there are possibly five regions that capture the nuances of the grape.
- The quintessential Bordeaux appellation for Sauvignon Blanc is Graves which takes its name from its soil, the French word for gravel. The wine has a subtle citrus character and the Sémillon blends reveal honeysuckle.
- The white wines of Sancerre in the Loire Valley may be the purest expression of the grape highlighting a steely grace and minerality in the form of wet stone! There are also nice wafts of white peach, fresh cut grass and green bell pepper.
- California has its’ own Sauvignon Blanc clone which exhibits a straw colouration and ripe grapefruit and Mandarin orange on the palate.
- Chile also grows the California clone but here the wines are crisp with strong minerality.
- New Zealand has a huge share of the global Sauvignon Blanc market. The Marlborough region is the most famous, the wine bursts alive with tropical fruit- kiwi, pineapple etc. I have spent many wonderful hours poolside sipping Monkey Bay, Kim Crawford and their friends in the heat.
This brings us to British Columbia and the Okanagan style of BC Wine. Sauvignon Blanc is the 4th most popular white varietal as indicated by the acreage metrics shown of the BCWineTrends Stats page. The styles vary from flinty Sancerre to Creamy Bordeaux Sémillon blends and extend to cool New Zealand style with tropic fruit notes.
Last Sunday, over 100 guests joined the Wine Party crew on board SS Sicamous to taste a wonderful array of Sauvignon Blanc BC Wines produced by local wineries while nibbling on Wild BC Spot Prawn creations by three local star chefs:
- Chef John Burke of Front Street Brasserie Chef
- Chef Ross Derrick of The Table at Codfathers Seafood
- Chef Mark Ashton from Lake Breeze Winery & Patio Restaurant
The Participating Wineries
Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. The 2014 vintage won a DOUBLE GOLD at the 2015 All Canadian Wine Championships Bench so we hoped the new vintage would be even better. This is a racy white, with aromas and flavours of lemon, lime and grapefruit. Winemaker Val Tait builds the layers of flavour by picking the grapes four different times. The early pickings contribute the vibrant character and the later pickings bring riper flavours.
Black Market Collusion 2015. Collusion is new this year and is a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc/ 40% Sémillon. The grapes for the blend come from Road 20 in Oliver on the west side of the valley. This block is ideally located for morning sun which helped to mitigate the aggressive ripening seen in the 2015 vintage. The Sémillon was aged in a new French oak puncheon for 4 months to give it some creaminess on the texture to soften the Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc was tank fermented and aged. This elegant creamy white has good acid levels for food with a crisp orange blossom, caramelised citrus and grapefruit, a beautiful fragrance, medium to full body and nicely integrated oak.