It’s full-on summertime in the northern hemisphere and wine fans are begging for crisp, clean, unoaked white wines to satisfy their enophile thirsts. While many on the west coast are seeking out their favorite bottles of Chardonnay, many of us in Texas are seeking out the brighter side of white wine. Many grapes are included in this list of choices like Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Albariño, and Roussanne. But what about a famous white wine grape of Bordeaux? Yes, Sauvignon Blanc is very present here in Texas although we don’t see very much of it on a yearly basis. To find out what makes this grape tick, let’s look into a little history behind this beautiful green-skinned berry.
Sauvignon Blanc is thought to have originated in Bordeaux, France. It then became notable in the Loire Valley of France where it is often called Sancerre, named for the region itself rather than the grape variety. The name Sauvignon Blanc likely gets its name from sauvage (meaning wild) and blanc (meaning white) because of its wild/natural origins in the southwest of France. It is a widely planted grape across the globe and it has become famous in regions outside of France such as New Zealand and California. However, you don’t necessarily need a maritime climate and cold, fog ridden nights to produce great Sauvignon Blanc. It can grow quite well in hot conditions with little rainfall if the viticulture practices are on point.
Depending on terroir, this grape can produce wines with very different and unique characteristics. In cool climates, this grape tends to produce wines with very high acidity and green notes such as grass, bell pepper, and some tropical fruits. In warm climates, the wines tend to be less green and with lower acidity. Sometimes the warmer climate wines can have softer, dampened aromatics as compared to their cooler climate counterparts. If you don’t enjoy the grassy/grapefruit notes often associated with Sauvignon Blanc, you might prefer a warm climate version of this wine. Having said that, let’s discuss Sauvignon Blanc in Texas.
As I mentioned earlier, it is not the most common grape variety we see bottled across Texas. There are a few notable producers such as Spicewood Vineyards, Fall Creek Vineyards, and Kuhlman Cellars. I am sure there are a few more wineries producing this wine, but these are the main ones that come to mind when it comes to high quality, Texas grown Sauvignon Blanc. The wines grown here in Texas tend to be softer, more delicate, and less aromatic than Bordeaux, New Zealand, and Napa. You know what? That is okay with me! We already have several grapes grown in Texas that are super aromatic, so there is no need for everything to be a bouquet of flowers. Many people have really come to appreciate this softer style with its gentle acidity and delicate aromatic profile. It is almost always aged strictly in stainless steel in Texas to fit the bill for our hot weather consumption. Crisp and clean is the secret code for Texas white wine and the few Sauvignon Blancs being produced here are simply stimulating!
So, you might have to do a little searching in Texas to find your perfect Sauvignon Blanc, but I am confident you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find. The Texas Hill Country AVA, Texas High Plains AVA, and Escondido Valley AVA in Fort Stockton are all growing stellar Sauvignon Blanc. Now is your chance to get out there and begin your mission to seek out this alluring wine in Texas.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.