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What to Drink Now: Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon

Cool down with these juicy wines.
By Hayley Hamilton Cogill |

Refreshing Sauvignon Blanc and textured Sémillon are the perfect wines to sip through the end of summer. Here are a few suggestions. (Some were sent for editorial consideration.)

Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc in France’s Loire Valley ignites the taste buds with smoky, flinty deliciousness. Domaine Claude Riffault Sancerre Les Boucauds highlights smokiness from the Silex soils of Sancerre with citrus and herbs for a luscious wine. ($26, available here.)

In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend creating Bordeaux Blanc.
Chateau Graville-Lacoste ($20) in Graves blends 75% Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc and a hint of Muscadelle for a white flower, kiwi, and herb-filled wine. Chateau Auney l’Hermitage Graves Blanc, ($30) swaps Muscadelle for Sauvignon Gris, delivering a lively wine with chalky stone and honeydew. (Both are available at Pogo’s.)

Many wineries capture this French style in their white selections, accentuating the minerality with the fresh citrus and herbal notes. From Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Aveta jumps from the glass with orange blossom, lemon-zest, and nectarine. ($25, at Total Wine.)

Though Cabernet stole his heart, Sauvignon Blanc reflective of Napa was what became Robert Mondavi’s signature white. Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc melds citrus, crushed stone, and lychee. ($20, at Goody-Goody.)

Groth co-ferments Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon crafting a crisp, yet soft wine, with restrained acidity and a well-rounded palate, ideal for pairing. ($22, at Pogo’s.)

From Duckhorn, a sunshine filled Sauvignon Blanc highlights tropical notes with pineapple, guava, and clementine. ($30, at Spec’s.)

Rutherford grows some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc in Napa for wineries like LailMeander’s Conspire, Cakebread, and Round Pond, the earthy, dusty soils of Rutherford showcase the variety’s minerality. As many wineries do, Provenance Vineyards sur lie ages (aging the wines on their lees, or yeasts) for three months rounding out the acidity, layering wildflowers and tangerine in their Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc. ($25, at Total Wine.)

Cade highlights orchard fruit and lemongrass for an inviting Sauvignon Blanc. With the help of various tools available to winemaker Danielle Cyrot, the fermentation includes stainless steel, neutral and new French oak, and concrete eggs, enhancing the character of the wine. ($35, at Pogo’s.)

Chardonnay may be the signature white wine of Rombauer, their vibrant Sauvignon Blanc is racy, bright and perfect for summer enjoyment. ($25, at Total Wine.)

Flora Springs sur lie ages their Soliloquy Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc in oak and stainless steel for eight months, adding complexity, enhancing honeysuckle, cream, and stone-fruit notes. ($50, at Spec’s.)

Smith-Story Lakota’s View Semillon from Sonoma Mountain captures the acidity high elevation vineyards give to grapes, with the inherent richness of the variety for a balanced, refined, delicious wine. ($40, here.)

Presqu’ile Sauvignon Blanc in Santa Maria Valley captures the region’s freshness, thanks to its close proximity to the Pacific, developing an aromatic wine with bright acidity and an inviting palate that is a consistent favorite. ($26, here.)

New Zeland Sauvignon Blanc often accentuates citrus and tropical fruit versus the minerality of some French styles, with punchy notes of citrus, gooseberry, and tropical fruit. Whitehaven ($20) from Marlborough highlights these characteristics with white grapefruit and grassy herbs. Similarly, Wither Hills fills the palate with lemon, lime-flowers, and grapefruit. ($15, at Total Wine.)

From California, Beltane Ranch ($20), William Hill ($20), and Miner ($20) create similar styles and palates as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with ripe citrus, tropical fruit, and herbal notes, ideal for seafood pairing. (Via their websites.)

DeLille Cellars expressive Chaleur Blanc is a classic Bordeaux-style white-blend with creamy almond, day lilies, and mandarin and for an elegant expression from Washington state. ($40, at Spec’s.)

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