The Wines I Love series at Twin Cities Wine is an easy way for me chronicle wines of distinctive personality that I seek out again and again. There is no price minimum or maximum (though I tend to hover in the $15-25 range quite a bit), and no allegiance to a specific region, producer, distributor, or dogma.
This is all about great juice that you can find at better wine shops in the Twin Cities.
Wine: Gran Verano Sauvignon Blanc, 3L box
Place of origin: Central Valley, Chile
Composition: 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
More details: Made by one of our favorite Chilean wineries, Apaltagua, which is also imported by one of the best South American wine importers, Global Vineyard Importers. Estate grown fruit from three single vineyards, in the heart of the best Sauvignon Blanc region of Chile.
Price: $30 or so for a 3L box (so we’re talking the same as $7.50 per bottle! This is a BARGAIN!)
Local distributor: Bourget Imports.
I love Sauvignon Blanc. Who doesn’t? A crisp and lip-smacking Sauvignon is pretty much the perfect way to end a day and start a night.
And I love Chilean Sauvignon Blanc in particular. Why? Because you’ll often find the raciness and verve of New Zealand, but with a touch of the harsh edge taken off. There’s a bit of roundness on the finish, but still full of citrus. It’s balanced, and I can enjoy more of it because of that roundness (sometimes New Zealand selections get a little too citric for me).
The story of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is quite interesting, for most Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, until quite recently, was not Sauvignon Blanc. It was a grape brought over by mistake 150 years ago called Sauvignonasse, or Sauvignon Vert, or better known in Italy as Friulano.
As described on Wikipedia regarding this confusion:
Unlike Sauvignon gris, which is a clonal mutation of Sauvignon blanc also found in Chile, Sauvignon vert has no known connection with Sauvignon blanc. The vines were believed to be interspersed together in Bordeaux during the 19th century when the cuttings were brought to Chile labeled as just “Sauvignon blanc”. The leaves and berry clusters of the Sauvignon vert and Sauvignon blanc are very similar which explains part of the confusion between the two vines. The two vines also have similar susceptibility to Botrytis. The wines made from the two grapes are noticeably different when compared together with Sauvignon blanc being much more aromatic with notes of ripe fruit like gooseberries and black currant that Sauvignon vert lacks in favor of softer, floral flavors. Sauvignon blanc also has more acidity than Sauvignon vert and retains much of its vibrancy and flavors longer.
This particular wine, however, is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. You can tell right away from the first whiff.
Aromas of straightforward grapefruit and lime, with a touch of ripe apple thrown in. Deeper exploration shows some minerality and herbal edge. But the taste is where it’s at for this, light and crisp and fun and dry. This is not a flavor profile you find often in boxed white wines, and I’ve found myself drinking this one down far faster than expected! (One of the disadvantages to boxed wine: almost too easy to get another glass!)
Will this wine ever win the “greatest Sauv Blanc ever” contest? Nope. Will it ever grace the cover of Wine Spectator with a 100 point rating? Nope. Will it make you super happy and keep some extra cash in your pocket? YES.
Where to find this wine: Search your favorite local fine wine shop and if they don’t have it ask for a special order. (Note on the whole “where to find a wine” question: I’m the last person to ask. I don’t know who has what in inventory at any given time. Best bet is to place a special order with your favorite retailer, or to contact the distributor for a list of who purchased it recently.)
I got mine at Solo Vino on Selby Avenue.