Why Sauvignon Blanc is like pizza! Ok, so I realize this seems like an odd title, but stick with me, it will all make sense eventually. I've been thinking about Sauv Blanc lately since we just released our 2011 S2 (S Squared) blend this month, our first release from the 2011 harvest. This wine is a wonderful blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, all grown in our original estate vineyard in Palisade. S2 has quietly become one of our most popular wines, and the 2011 is easily our best vintage yet of this wine. This stylish blend is the same blend used in white wines from the Bordeaux. Lots of people don't realize they even make white wines in the Bordeaux since the reds get all the press, but they certainly do, and the blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon can be really nice. The relatively low acidity of Semillon balances out the higher acid Sauv Blanc, making a crisp, yet rich white wine that is fantastically food friendly.
The vines for our S2 blend are now 12 years old and really starting to hit their stride (2009 winter not withstanding). Very few wineries in Colorado grow and make Sauvignon Blanc, I can only think of two others besides us, which is a shame as this grape seems to be a strong performer in our climate. S2 has quietly become one of our most popular wines, and the Sauvignon Blanc grapes we grow are a big reason. While Riesling gets most of the press for white wines in Colorado, and rightfully so since they can be very good, Sauv Blanc should get more notice. The Semillon has proven to be a finicky grower, but overall it does well also. So the combination of the two grapes makes for a fabulous white wine, but how does any of this relate to pizza? Let me explain.
Sauvignon Blanc is very "expressive" as a grape depending on the climate where it is grown. In the cooler climates like New Zealand it tends to take on the green grassy and herbaceous qualities that many people like in the NZ Sauv Blancs. When grown in warmer climates like Napa, or Palisade, it takes on a much richer tropical profile in the wine. So you can have two wines, both made with Sauvignon Blanc, but VERY different styles. Much like the age old discussion regarding which type of pizza is better, thick crust Chicago style or thin crust NY style, people get very passionate when discussing which style of pizza they prefer, and can even dismiss the other style as non-authentic. The same can often be said about Sauvignon Blanc wines. For people that really like the cool climate style, the richer warm climate style does not sit well, and vice versa. I must say I enjoy them both, but it really depends on what I'm eating and my mood at the time. Of course same is true for pizza, I like thick and thin, just depends on the day. Our warmer growing climate in Palisade helps us create a much richer style of Sauvignon Blanc, which is readily evident in our 2011 S2 blend.
If you have not tried our newly released 2011 S2 give it a whirl and you will see what I mean, but don't wait too long, it sells out pretty quick. I think this grape has great potential in Palisade and would like to see more wineries give it a try.