The Garden of France and the Wild White

“The sun had already set behind the mountains, and the sky had been drained of color. The trellises of sauvignon blanc flowed down the hill in even rows toward the valley floor. Whatever I was looking for, it wasn’t outside." - Frederick Weisel, Teller

When two grape varietals love each other, very, very much, they come together and make a new grape varietal. This was the case of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. They met, courted, had a whirlwind romance in southwestern France, fell in love and then one day Cabernet Sauvignon was born.

Ok fine, this isn't the technical, scientific or oenological version of what happened, but Cab Franc and Sauv Blanc are the parent varietals of the Cabernet we all know and love. Indigenous to that whimsical southwestern France, Sauvignon Blanc most likely gets its name from the French words sauvage ("wild") and blanc ("white"). Hence the Wild White. Along the banks of the longest river in France, the Loire, and thanks to the optimal growing climate there, Sauvignon Blanc thrives and achieves balance in what is called the Garden of France, the Loire Valley.

We know the names, those villages where the best of the best Sauvignon Blanc comes from. Sancerre. Menetou-Salon.Touraine. Pouilly-Fumé. But over the last three years, the eastern part of the Loire, where these villages lie, have had a tumultuous go at it. Summers have been too hot, juxtaposed with winters being far too cold. And not just the temperamental seasons are wreaking their havoc, but Mother Nature is also casting down hail from the skies that have devastated nearly 60% of the Sauvignon Blanc crop for the past three vintages. Everyone knows that the global transport system has been in shambles since 2020, with just about every single kind of product on the planet difficult to get; wine being no exception. But if you add these delays and speedbumps with 60% of your production being down, it's devastating.

For this reason, we're devoting this week's Tasting to the Sauvignon Blanc grape; two of which will come from the Loire Valley, one a Vin de Loire and the other a Sancerre proper. This is our homage to one of the world's most famous varietals and to offer our support and garner attention to the farmers over there in France's garden.

To compliment these two beauties, both of which come from Fournier Pere & Fils, we're going to enjoy two other expressions of Sauvignon Blanc so that we can see and taste the nuances; the similarities and the differences.

First up, we'll head over to New Zealand, who thanks to Sauvignon Blanc, earned its place on the world wine map in the 1980s. From renowned winemaker Steve Bird, we'll enjoy the Manu from Marlborough. Translated, 'Manu' is the Maori word for both 'bird' and 'kite'.

And finally, we'll end in California's Napa Valley with the 2020 vintage of Hindsight Sauv Blanc. Hindsight is the new project from the former winemaker at Groth and considered the 'god' of Sauvignon Blanc winemaking in Napa Valley, Michael Weis. Mr. Weis has been making only Sauvignon Blanc in the Napa Valley for over 30 years and this 2020 vintage we'll be having is the inaugural Release!

Crisp and acidic whites during the dog days of August in Charleston sound good to us.That we're going to tackle the super fun spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc from across the globe sounds great!

So drop by on Wednesday and take this journey with us. It'll be wild!


The Wine Shop Team



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