If you’re a fan of the popular Sauvignon Blanc varietal, but want to branch out, here are some great alternatives to put on your list!
This post contributed by Shreen Flett
My friend, Deb was exasperated that after a year of lockdowns, she had begun to tire of her daily quaffer, a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. Deb was a dogmatic tippler and for her, it was Sauvignon Blanc and little else.
Nothing wrong in drinking what you like, of course. Not many I know don’t love their whites dry with fresh acidity and intense, instantly recognisable aromatics (green fruit, especially gooseberry, freshly-cut grass, and herbaceous notes of green bell pepper and asparagus).
In reality, however, Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that has many different guises, from a light-bodied, refreshing, zesty wine from the Loire Valley; a juicy, slightly tropical Chilean with distinguishable salinity; even a complex, durable and weighty white Bordeaux.
While grasping the approachable, obvious and crowd-pleasing nature of Sauvignon Blanc, sticking to one wine or region doesn’t compute with me, so I offered Deb some alternatives to bring a little joy back into her lockdown life.
May 3 was International Sauvignon Blanc Day (seriously!), so if you celebrated it with plenty of this popular varietal, and now want to expand your horizons – or if you just love Sauvignon Blanc in general, but are experiencing palate fatigue – try these five tasty, interesting alternatives.
Mastroberardino FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2019
Average Price: RM114
Falanghina is an indigenous, signature grape of the Sannio DOC and owes its name to the Latin “falangea,” the poles that were traditionally used to support the vigorous vine’s canopy.
This wine is fresh, harmonious and pleasantly light. Fruit-forward (green apple, pear, citrus, pineapple) with notes of toasted almond and chalky minerality. This is a party-wine as its good on its own.
A great match with seafood, risotto, spaghetti alle vongole, and young cheese. Not a very common sighting in Malaysia but keep an eye out for it.
Val de Vid
Average Price: RM88
Rueda is the home of Verdejo, one of Spain’s most popular and fashionable indigenous white grapes. Often compared to Sauvignon Blanc because of its aromatic and herbaceous qualities, this wine is savoury, peachy and citrusy (lime, lemon) with distinctive notes of bay leaf and fennel that come in on the finish.
It’s a great food wine due to its higher acidity, medium body and palate-cleansing quality. Try it with cured meats and seafood. Unlike most whites, Verdejo is capable of several years of bottle ageing, so drink now or hold.
Rias Baixas, Spain
Average Price: RM92
Albarino is distinctive, aromatic vine most commonly grown in Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain. Tangy and refreshing with crunchy green apple, lemon, honeydew melon, and apricot aromas and flavours.
Not quite the flavour bomb I was expecting but it compensated with a good balance between body, lively acidity, and lean minerality. Finishes with salinity and citrus. Pairs beautifully with fish, seafood, salads, and Spanish tapas.
Average Price: RM88
If you like the head-snapping aroma of Sauvignon Blanc, this one’s for you. Often regarded as Argentina’s signature white variety, this fine example of Torrontes comes from the high altitude vineyards of Salta.
In spite of the assertive tropical (lychee, pineapple, papaya) and bright floral (rose petals, elderflower) aromas and flavours, this retains a refreshing, light, and balanced character over a peachy and flinty backdrop. Finishes dry with crisp but mellow acidity. It’s a great match with Thai cuisine or light Indian curries. A wine you’d want to drink throughout the whole meal. Drink young.
Saint Clair Family Estate
GRÜNER VELTLINER 2018
Marlborough, New Zealand
Average Price: RM107
Native to Austria, the Grüner Veltliner grape is becoming increasingly popular and respected worldwide. Layers of peach, nectarine, and citrus, this wine also displays more of a tropical character compared to its Austrian example coupled with intriguing spicy notes of white pepper. Dry, mouth-watering, and textured on the palate with a refreshing and lingering finish.
If you haven’t tried a Grüner yet, you definitely should. Works well with lighter stir-fries, chicken, and seafood (sashimi).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shreen is an ex-banker and wine enthusiast based in Kuala Lumpur. She has never actually worked in the wine trade, but is a household name in her own house being the go-to person for wine and food. Shreen is WSET-certified, a French Wine Scholar, and in the process of obtaining her Spanish Wine Scholar. She dreams of living on a vineyard in Spain.
Wines shown here are available in most good wine shops in Kuala Lumpur (and possibly elsewhere in Malaysia). Prices noted are for a standard 750mL bottle, and represent an average taken from three to four local retailers.
"ExpatGo welcomes and encourages comments, input, and divergent opinions. However, we kindly request that you use suitable language in your comments, and refrain from any sort of personal attack, hate speech, or disparaging rhetoric. Comments not in line with this are subject to removal from the site. "