Sauvignon Blanc stubbornly refuses to leave its envied position as the UK’s favourite white wine grape, comparable to the catchy tune which clings on to number one long after the majority of people have come to loathe it. And why is that? Because, just like said catchy tune, there are still plenty of people who can’t help but love it, no matter how much others tell them to move on.
This means of course that the debate over which country does Sauvignon Blanc best rages on. Kiwi Sauvignon has been cherished since the seventies, long before it became a mass market product, often leaving the Loire as second best in terms of popularity, even if not everyone would agree on quality. My hot tip for this tussle though is to watch Chile. Especially in the coastal areas, their Sauvignon is drifting away from bulk and into brilliance, and the traditional two-horse race may soon have a third runner neck and neck.
But, for now, I still prefer Loire. I like the emphasis on crisp, fresh fruit, and the tendency to avoid the pronounced herbaceousness and wacky tropical flavours which this variety so often displays in New Zealand. Sancerre is the first appellation on every Loire Sauvignon-loving connoisseur’s lips (literally as well as figuratively), but it’s also known for being variable, and the smaller, and far less famous Reuilly is frequently noted as a smart buy. Hence the choice for this article.
There’s no textbook for quintessential Loire Sauvignon, but if there was, this wine is what you’d get. There’s powerful and sprightly, but not over-the-top, gooseberry on both nose and palate, with a touch of lime, grassiness and minerality as background notes, and just the slightest suggestion of exotic fruit.
The high, even if not quite lip-puckering, acidity means it’s best enjoyed with the right food. There probably is at least one textbook out there which would advise you to match this with goat’s cheese, and very sound advice it would be too. Or try it with a delicate fish and some herby vegetables for a more complex, and equally effective, pairing.
This wine probably isn’t for you if you prefer the typical Kiwi style of Sauvignon. But if you like the way the French do it, this one is an excellent choice at £8.99.