Yes, it's Wine Blogging Wednesday again! Since I knew it was coming up right after my fourth of July getaway, I sneakily packed a few wines in my Survival Kit that fit with this month's theme: Wines Brought to you by the Letter 'S'. I also packed two wines which have come to mean Amazing Summer Sipping as far as I'm concerned - and both have an 'S' component. I've decided to share my thoughts today on the one I realized I just barely favor over the other. (It is only fair I share in the greatest goodness with those who come to read my musings!) Enter the 2007 Sileni Estates Sauvignon Blanc.
I wasn't much of a white wine drinker even as little as two years ago. I had been burned one too many times by (oaky) Chardonnay or overly tart (to my taste some years ago) Sauvignon Blanc, arguably the two white varietals you come across most often here in the US. I was only experimenting with half the possibilities and a true wine adventurer needs to at least know what the heck white is all about. So I solicited a little help from my local wine shop. Whenever I wanted a case of wine in the warmer months, I asked the wine manager to throw in a few whites, too. Soon enough I was hooked! The summer months became a fun time to focus on finding new white varietals to beat the heat; the winter could be reserved for my red addiction. Fair is fair.
Why this side story now? Well, the Sileni Sauvignon Blanc is one of those amazing wines I find many palates (red and white drinkers alike) can appreciate, or as in my case, saddle right on up to with an empty glass. Sauvignon Blanc from warmer climates can take on more tropical flavors of banana and pineapple - of course backed by characteristically citrus (lemon/lime) goodness. Sauvignon Blanc from cooler climates (e.g. New Zealand) errs on the grassier, super zesty grapefruit side. Either way it is an intense, lively, herbal, often zippy little number with great acidity to quench thirst on the hottest of summer days. What can I say, cheesy as it may sound, an image of a tall reed of grass blowing in the sea breeze now comes to mind when I find myself sipping Sauvignon Blanc.
Semillon on its own can take on fuller, rich, almost honeyed flavors. It is widely produced in France, particularly in Bordeaux and used in Sauternes. Australia is also becoming a big producer of the grape. When it is blended with the lean, zesty-tart Sauvignon Blanc, this varietal works some serious magic. The best winemakers know just a little bit goes a long way. Without strong-arming, a drop or two of semillon produces lovely, fleshy and refreshing white wines.
What about the Sileni offering, you ask urgently now that I've wet your whistle??
I'm always amazed by the color of the Sileni. It is a fairly light, almost star-bright color - when I always anticipate it being more honeyed in color, because of it's gorgeous richness on the palate. Indeed, while the label doesn't indicate as much, the winemaker blends in just a touch of tasty Semillon. The result is a fuller bodied Sauvignon Blanc. I find nice tropical fruits, gooseberry freshness and some minerality leap from the glass and similar flavors emerge on the midpalate. Its more typically New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc grapefruit flavors show on the finish. It is so well integrated, the wine's components dance together harmoniously. We paired it with fresh Swordfish steak, corn on the cob and an apple-cider vinegar coleslaw. The weight of the wine complemented the steakier fish perfectly, and the sweetness of the corn and slaw were brilliantly off-set by the fresh acidity of the wine. Yum, indeed!
What wine with the Letter 'S' tickled your tastebuds and fancy this holiday weekend?