Mother Nature Beckons
Usher in spring with Chile's best Sauvignon Blancs
With the trees budding and air warming up for spring, we're finally ready to put away those big winter reds and bring out the crisp summer whites. In the past, we reached for ubiquitous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but this year we're smitten with Chile's take on the same grape.
Although Chile has been producing Sauvignon Blanc for years, the country has only recently produced wine that fulfills the grape's potential. The best picks come from a trio of up-and-coming regions--Leyda, Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley--where cool climates and long ripening times result in wines that aren't as bracingly acidic as their Kiwi counterparts. If a comparison must be made, these Chilean versions express a finesse and minerality similar to France's Sancerre. However, Chile's low production costs keep prices down, making the country one of the best sources of Sauvignon Blanc values in the world.
Keep these bottles in mind for pairing with spring's first crops of vegetables:
2006 Kingston Cariblanco Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc ($15) In addition to its bright citrus flavors and crisp acidity, this wine offers minerality and a silky texture (oceanwineandspirits.com).
2006 Matetic EQ San Antonio Sauvignon Blanc ($16) Warm nectarine notes and a welcome hint of smoke intensify on the palate and makes this a perfect alfresco party pick (wallywine.com).
2008 Casa Lapostolle Rapel Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($8) Tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and banana linger in this soft, value-priced bottle (pjwine.com).
2008 Montes Limited Selection Leyda Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($12) Intensely aromatic, this wine's aromas of clean linen (seriously) are followed by racy acidity and lemon-lime flavors; try it with ceviche (hitimewine.com).
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