To me, Sauvignon Blanc basically falls into two categories. There’s the lighter, lemony, grapefruit-like, “easy drinking” style that I truly enjoy for every day sipping. Then, there’s the more serious approach to Sauvignon Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc with far more complexity, weight, food-friendliness, and intellectual stimulation. This latter category is very special and it is where today's wine resides.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this is my most very favorite California white: Girard Sauvignon Blanc—a dry, very clean, fresh and crisp Sauvignon Blanc that is superacidic and minerally. It's really a wonderful California rendition of a Loire-style Sauvignon Blanc.
Thirty years after first planting its vineyards in Napa, Girard continues to produce wines reflecting Napa Valley quality. Longtime California vintner Pat Roney purchased the winery shortly after the turn of the century and has plans to continue Girard's tradition of highlighting the flavors of Napa Valley and its rich, ripe grapes.
Girard’s ‘ambitiously efficient’ state of the art winery, located in the Carneros district also employs cutting edge energy saving initiatives resulting in a carbon neutral footprint and sustainable agriculture practices.
Okay, what makes this wine a perennial favorite?
First, the Sauvignon Blanc is all stainless steel fermented and does not undergo malolactic
fermentation. In fact, it is so light, it looks like water in the bottle and it is just as thirst quenching.
The aromatics lean toward lush citrus, ripe grapefruit, fragrant lemon zest, fresh and green apple
and refreshing honeydew melon. Candied ginger, bright summer lemon curd and ripe grapefruit are followed by tropical notes of pineapple and guava that takes us down the path to honeysuckle vines, stony minerals and fresh thyme.
The Girard Sauvignon Blanc is full and rich from start to finish; bold, ripe fruit flavors are lasting and attractive on the palate. With no oak, it shows brilliant lemongrass, peach, vanilla and spice flavors. The citrus notes define themselves as lime zest with a touch of fresh-cut grapefruit and Meyer lemon. Tropical notes help round out the palate with hints of mango, guava and papaya. There is a slightly flinty and wet slate characteristic that compliments the refreshing acidity.
The above-mentioned ripe mango, peach and apricot flavors are smooth and elegant, but with plenty of punch from a refreshing acidity and a minerally undertow that crescendos on the lingering finish. This is a wine with bright acidity that helps cleanse and stimulate the palate, and it is a welcome addition to any wine cellar. It’s a quintessential white that pairs beautifully with white meats (from fish and shellfish to chicken and pork).
The lean profile of Sauvignon Blanc also does not lend itself well to dishes containing disproportionate amounts of butter or cream (use only with balancing ingredients like lemon and capers, lest the wine turns unpleasantly sharp and the dish too fatty or oily). This wine is a natural with dishes utilizing leafy green herbs (parsley, basil, chervil and cilantro).
If you drink this wine too cold, you’ll miss the nuances behind the pineapple, orange and spice flavors. I love this wine, it’s flat-out delicious!
If you enjoyed this article and would like to subscribe to receive notification of future Wine Examiner articles, simply add your email address to the subscribe button at the top of the page. Comments welcome.