International Sauvignon Blanc Day - Friday April 24

Back in the dawn of wine marketing time, in November of 1951, some very cunning Frenchmen came up with the notion of releasing that very vintage’s just-fermented Gamay Noir as ‘Beaujolais Nouveau’ just six weeks after the grapes were harvested.

 

Pour yourself a taste of Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc (64717) $8.25 while you ponder that eventful day – forever after to be the third Thursday of every November.   Light green apple and pear aromas are echoed in the flavour of this summery sipper, with some tropical mango and pineapple thrown in for good measure.

More than 50 years later an aggressive marketing campaign by ‘Wines of Argentina’ suggested we celebrate World Malbec Day, every year, with a glass of Malbec, on April 17th.  Did you miss it?

 

Very nearly next door to Argentina, Chilean winemakers continue to quietly put offerings on our shelves at very nearly bottom-of-the-barrel prices. A textbook white from a benchmark brand, Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc (578641) $11.75 grown in the hot Central Valley vineyards, has more body and weight than the often zippy, zingy wines that New Zealand seldom sends us in the same price range. 

 

Not to be outdone, this April 24 2015 marks the sixth annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day – an online initiative that started in California as a global social media wine tasting.

 

Today, few California versions of this particular variety of wine make it past the crowd of less expensive wines from South Africa.  Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc (40501) $13.00 often seems deliberately stripped of fruit in an attempt to emulate the original Bordeaux Blanc.  Some light oak adds a little hint of vanilla to tame the fruit further.  Simple but so good with food!

 

This year, New Zealand Winegrowers will be leading the International Sauvignon Blanc Day charge and holding events across the world to celebrate the variety that put New Zealand on the world’s wine maps.   Perhaps even France will take notice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In recent years, France’s revitalized Languedoc has begun to give us wines of every known varietal.  Arrogant Frog Sauvignon Blanc (914002) $14.00 has a complex nose of gooseberry, kiwi and pear. A bright tropically styled white with lots of mango and gooseberry flavours and some nice zingy acidity on the finish.

 

On August 24, 1973 Frank Yukich, founder of what was known, then, as Montana Wines - planted the first vines in Brancott Valley, the unofficial beginning of the internationally acclaimed Marlborough wine grape-growing region and the first modern day planting of wine grapes in New Zealand.

 

Less well known than some of New Zealand’s high profile name brands but relatively affordable Two Tracks Sauvignon Blanc (53983)  $13.70 comes from the renowned Marlborough region on the northeast tip of the South Island. Bright zingy fresh aromas of gooseberry, kiwi fruit and green pepper characters lead into fresh citrus lime flavours and a touch of pineapple and guava to finish.

 

Celebrations of International Sauvignon Blanc Day on April 24 2015 kick off in New Zealand and make their way around the globe following the sun. Sauvignon Blanc tastings and events are taking place in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Germany, London, Toronto, New York and Vancouver …finishing 43 hours later at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

 

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (100594) $18.75, Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (316570) $20.00, and the iconic Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (304469) $34.50 are all Marlborough grown wines and flagship brands for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  More than 40 years after Frank Yukich’s seminal Marlborough plantings, producers and distributors are still rolling out a wide range of wines.

 

Restaurants, retailers and consumers - along with global wine brands - will be celebrating Sauvignon Blanc for the day and participating in the Twitter conversation by using the "hashtag" #SauvBlanc.

Dash across the Pacific Ocean for a sip of a sweeter white. There is a surprisingly fresh, crisp quality - from the natural high acidity - that often gets lost in dessert wines in every sip of Errazuriz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (427054) $14.80/375ml from Chile.  A semi-sweet medley of kiwi and gooseberry flavors over pear, pineapple, hints of honeydew, and some woody notes.


Whatever wine-growing country catches your fancy, celebrate International Sauvignon Blanc Day on Friday, April 24 and make today’s wine marketers as excited as those Frenchmen in Beaujolais more than 60 years ago.  Pick, chill, sip and savour!
 

Reach WineWise by email to douglas_sloan@yahoo.com