Monday, May 2, 2022

Dan Berger: The Significance of Savignon Blanc

 Sauvignon blanc is one of the world's most popular white wines, and for a columnist who started writing about wine 45 years ago, that's a shock.   

    I've always been a fan of it and hoped it would get popular. In the early 1980s, I wrote that this variety was well under the radar and was unlikely to gain wide traction.
    I hope that column in some small way helped put sauvignon blanc on the vinous map as well as on the tongues of readers. However it happened, the variety now thrives worldwide.
    What makes it endlessly fascinating to those who get genuinely serious about it is how it reflects the places from which it comes. Thus, it's a case example of last week's column in which I wrote of regional identity of certain foods and wines.
    Site specificity does apply to sauvignon blanc, most obviously in certain soils and climates. Here are a few:
    Marlborough, New Zealand: At the northern tip of the South Island, this area is a textbook example of the variety's natural herbal-ness.
    The aromas of the best occasionally are tropical with hints of fresh red bell peppers, newly mown hay, gooseberries and a trace of what's often described as cat litter box.
    That last descriptor doesn't sound appealing, but when you combine all the different elements in New Zealand sauvignon blanc, the style can be seductive. The wines work brilliantly with shellfish, marrying the seafoods' brininess with the usual lime-scented, higher-acidity wine.
    To make it more approachable, many producers leave a bit of residual sugar. They're best consumed young.
    Pouilly-Fume and Sancerre, France: These twin regions at the eastern edge of the Loire Valley produce similar sauvignon blancs, each with slightly different aromatics.
    The former tends to have a smoky aroma, often referred to as gunflint; the latter tends to be leaner and more austere with hints of dried lime and slate/minerals. Though most of these can be drunk young, the best can take on astounding bouquet with bottle aging.
    Dry Creek Valley, California: Perhaps the most definitive West Coast region for growing this grape is in this northern Sonoma County area. It's cool enough to display dried herb components that make it distinctive.
    Occasionally these wines display a bell pepper note, but rarely is it strong enough to be green or stemmy. Such a complexity often gives sauvignon blanc a fascinating aromatic after three to six years of aging.
    I also love sauvignon blanc from the Russian River Valley, just south of Dry Creek.
    Napa Valley: This iconic region best known for its cabernet has developed a secondary interest in sauvignon blanc, and the results can be rewarding, if pricey.
    Most Napa sauvignon blanc producers pay a lot for grapes., so the wines are expensive. To justify the prices, winemakers occasionally put sauvignon blanc into French oak barrels for aging.
    That makes them fascinating, and they can be tasty -- and some will age for a good 10 to 12 years in the bottle. However, prices can be $50 to $85.
    Other regions now doing a good job with sauvignon blanc: Chile; Alto Adige, Italy; South Africa; Alexander Valley, Sonoma County.

Wine of the Week: 2021 Dry Creek Vineyards Fume Blanc (sauvignon blanc), Sonoma County ($16): This pioneering winery (started 1972) began making this variety 50 years ago and soon discovered it was in the perfect spot for growing sauvignon blanc. The aroma is classic Dry Creek hay and lime, and the wine is perfectly structured to work with halibut and other firm fish. Often seen at about $13, a great value!

    To find out more about Dan Berger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at 



Anonymous said...

I'm partial to Russian River Valley wines and have had some lovely sauvignon blanc from there. Thank you for the article.

Anonymous said...

Remember watch Justin Wilson during one of his Justin Wilson Easy Cooking shows. He had a question about wine which he stated; I've been asked which wine is best with meat and fish. Most folks think you have to drink red wine with meat and white wine with fish. I say you drink whichever one you like.

Anonymous said...

Justin said that quite often on all of his shows.
But there's no doubt he preferred sauterne wine.

He seemed to always have two cheap gallons of the juice.
One to cook with, the other to drink.

"I guarantee" !

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS