The Wine of the Week: Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
2015 Valdivieso Valley Selection Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva, Valle de Leyda DO, Chile
Sauvignon Blanc may have its origins in the Bordeaux region of France, but it has flourished around the world. Some of the most distinct expressions of this grape are from the Loire Valley in France, anywhere it grows in New Zealand, and in the cool coastal valleys of Chile.
The Valle de Leyda DO is a small subregion within the San Antonio Valley, west of Santiago, south of the better-known Casablanca Valley. The vines here benefit from the cold ocean breezes and morning fog. The region is relatively new to wine production, being home to mostly barley and wheat. But premium wine producers have been drawn to it over the past couple decades.
There’s something about Sauvignon Blanc that tastes, to me, like springtime in a glass – green, herbal, grassy, prickly crisp light. And, often such a delicious pairing with crumbly creamy fresh cheeses, especially goats’ milk cheeses that are also at their peak in the spring.
This particular Sauvignon Blanc reminds me even more of spring than usual with its robust aromas of spring peas and asparagus, tangy grapefruit and guava, and sun-warmed stones. The aromas meld on the palate in a lush, round, savory swirl of flavor.
Although it will pair nicely with the aforementioned goats’ cheese, try it as a complement to the tender young asparagus of the season (maybe with this recipe). Or, enjoy it with a sweet pea risotto with a hint of green garlic and sautéed morel mushrooms. For a simple snack, try fresh farmers’ cheese blended with an assortment of delicate herbs, spread on chewy country bread with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. So many possibilities, just like spring
I alluded to it earlier: all Sauvignon Blancs are not the same. They reflect their terroir as well as the techniques chosen in their journey to wine. Loire Valley wines (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fuisse, etc.) may be more austere and minerally. New Zealand wines may be more robust and tropical. Other Chilean wines I’ve tasted are a bit more peppery and astringent than this one. I recommend tasting them all and finding your personal favorites. This is one of mine. At $17/bottle, it is on the upper end of my mid-week wine budget; but for a post farmers’ market fresh cooked meal, well worth it. At only 12% ABV, you could make that a brunch and still be up for dinner!
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