Grape of Influence

Rising from the ashes, sauvignon blanc has been on a wild popularity tear over the past several years.


Rising from the ashes, sauvignon blanc has been on a wild popularity tear over the past several years. Why? The grape’s extreme flavors are in line with a lot of the assertively flavored food that’s currently in vogue, and winemakers figured out how to grow this very vigorous vine variety to minimize herbaceousness and maximize citrus, making the wines better than they’ve ever been. There’s also enough diversity based on region to present different styles and flavor profiles. Here are three moderately priced sauvignon blancs that are deliciously refreshing chilled with raw or grilled shellfish.


Patient Cottat Le Grand Caillou, Vin de Pays du Val de Loire, 2014

If you’re into hardcore, no-compromise, unapologetic sauvignon blanc that is bone dry and chalky, this is a steal. I happen to be, so this is one of my everyday go-to wines. Earthy, with crisp, tart grapefruit flavors that linger, it tastes like the essence of spring. As for the low price, if the label said “Sancerre” or “Pouilly” instead of “Vin de Pays,” it would taste the same but cost at least twice as much.

$11, Ball Square Fine Wines, Somerville

Southern Right, Walker Bay, 2015    

South Africa continues to surprise and delight with the purity and depth of+ its wines. Southern Right is made by the great Anthony Hamilton Russell in a cool, coastal part of the Cape. The style in this wine is delicate and understated. It’s lemony, but soft and round, with a crisp mineral character and undertones of lime and white pepper. Anyone eating ceviche should get this.

$14, Federal Wine & Spirits, Boston

Craggy Range Te Muna Road, Martinborough, 2015  

New Zealand got the ball rolling on sauvignon blanc, but this wine is not from the country’s signature Marlborough district; it originates across the Cook Straits on the North Island vineyards of Martinborough. This is a very classy wine, with thyme, sorel and peach aromas, a smooth lemon-custard flavor and a crisp, clean finish. More medium-bodied than light, it’s a fine accompaniment to grilled salmon.

$24, Winestone, Chestnut Hill 

Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.



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