2021 Honig Sauvignon Blanc
As we pass the halfway point in this 12 days of wine we wanted to bring it back to a classic. Sauvignon Blanc is a great white grape and also a very versatile grape that can take on a lot of different qualities depending on where it’s grown.
Both Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France claim to be their birthplace of Sauvignon Blanc. While it is an important grape in both regions, the Loire Valley is really where it shines. No blending is permitted there so all wines must be 100%, Sauvignon Blanc. This is the area where some of the most famous Sauvignon Blanc in the world come from and two of its aliases, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. Here the wine is light, clean, bright, and intensely herbal. Sauvignon Blanc also plays a role in Bordeaux, but it is almost always blended with Sémillon.
France may be the birthplace of Sauvignon Blanc, but there is another region that rivals France’s fame, New Zealand. Though planted in New Zealand for significantly less time than France, it has quickly become the countries claim to fame. Today it is the most widely planted grape varietal in the country, accounting for about 1/3 of the acreage planted. Here the grape shines, most notably tasting of grass, green pepper, jalapeño, and passion fruit.
Then there is California which brings with it yet another alias, Fumé Blanc. Fumé Blanc was named by Robert Mondavi to avoid the negative stigma of Sauvignon Blanc once endured in America in the 1960s. Today, most of the winemakers seem to go out of their way to play down the herbal quality of the grape. It is also not uncommon to see a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon much like in Bordeaux. Another technique often used is to age or partially age the grape in oak. This is a practice rarely used in both France and New Zealand. Making California’s version as unique as the state itself, expressing tropical, citrus, and bright acidity in addition to rich complex styles.
Honig Winery in Napa Valley is a family owned, certified sustainable, and solar powered winery. The family purchased their Rutherford area property in 1964 and began producing wines in 1980. Originally they were just growing Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon on their land and selling it to other wineries in the area. But when the founder Luis Honig passed away in 1980 the family produced a small amount of Luis Honig Sauvignon Blanc in his honor. After receiving praise for their wine and winning a gold medal at the Orange County fair they decided to go all in and start producing their own wines. The winery and vineyards were then managed by Micheal Honig at 22 years old.
Today they are leaders in sustainability and are still producing the excellent Sauvignon Blanc that started everything.
2021 Honig Sauvignon Blanc
This wine is like the quintessential Sauvignon Blanc. On the nose you will find a slightly grassy note along with roasted green peppers from the pyrazines* in the wine. The palate is full of rich fruit with notes of citrus that range from lemongrass to kaffir limes, ripe pear and a touch of tropical fruit.
***What the hell are pryazines?
There is a specific aroma compound found in some wines known as methoxypyrazine or just pryazines for short. This compound creates aromas of green flavors in your wines like a grassy sauvignon blanc or a Cabernet Franc that smells like a roasted jalapeno. This aroma compound is most common in Bordeaux wines - so Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.