Weekend Wine: Taste Testing Sauvignon Blanc

Which country does one of the world’s most popular grapes best?

Farmers love Sauvignon Blanc grapes because they grow quickly and develop tons of fruit. Winemakers love them because they can sell them soon after bottling and they don’t have to use oak. You’ll note that none of these reasons benefit the person drinking the wine.

Unfortunately, the growth has been in the area of insipid, strangely flavored, weird smelling wine.

The Terrapura Family (Photo Courtesy of the Winery)

That point was driven home at a tasting we did a few weeks ago with friends. We opened about 50 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from every corner of Earth and found only a few that we would actually imbibe if offered. The vast majority of those we approved of were from France or Italy, with a couple from Austria and Slovenia. We also found a single bottle of New Zealand wine that was acceptable. Not one bottle from North America was up to the level of the Old World varieties.

The good news is one of the top wines in our survey was also one of the least expensive. I have to admit to being somewhat surprised that Viña Terrapura’s Sauvignon Blanc ($9.99) did such a wonderful job. To compare, the Old World wines we tasted ranged from $20-40 a bottle, so Terrapura is definitely punching above its weight. But, apparently Felipe Vial, head winemaker at Viña Terrapura, has figured out how to make a delicious wine that carries all the crisp acidity of the best European versions and even has the big, round mouthfeel of the Euros. Very highly recommended.

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More by Wes Marshall
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Sauvignon Blanc, Viña Terrapura, Felipe Vial


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