One of the unsung white grapes of Washington is sauvignon blanc. This classic wine is a perfect pairing with our region’s seafood and is versatile with many dishes.
In 2014, Washington wineries harvested nearly 7,000 tons of sauvignon blanc, the most in the state’s history. This makes the No. 4 white wine grape in the state, after riesling, chardonnay and pinot gris.
Historically, sauvignon blanc is most famous in France’s Bordeaux and Loire. In recent years, New Zealand has claimed it as its signature grape variety.
In the Evergreen State, sauvignon blanc makes a bright wine that is dry, crisp and loaded with aromas and flavors of orchards and tropical fruits. It also tends to be reasonably priced, with most examples under $20 a bottle.
Pair with seafood such as oysters, salmon, halibut, scallops and shrimp. Also try it with Cobb salad, pork, chicken or pasta with a white sauce.
Here are a few delicious examples of sauvignon blanc that we’ve tasted recently.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at greatnorthwestwine.com.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $11: This offers aromas of pineapple and angel food cake, yet also notes of gooseberry and juniper berry. On the palate, it is brisk, bright and bone dry with melon and grapefruit flavors framed by tingly acidity. (13 percent alcohol)
Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2014 The Expedition Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $15: This is a scintillating white with aromas of dried apricot, sweet herbs, starfruit and jicama, and flavors to match. Citrusy acidity and a nice bit of salinity make for a food-friendly finish. (13.2% alc.)
SuLei Cellars 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $18: Gorgeous aromas of lime zest, honeydew melon and grassiness lead to a palate that is clean, vibrant and greenish with Granny Smith apple, Bosc pear, melon, spice and herbs. (14.3% alc.)
Palencia Winery 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $18: Victor Palencia's Walla Walla winery is off to a terrific start, thanks to wines like this. It is refreshing with aromas and flavors of minerality, lemongrass, honeydew and fresh-cut apple. (13% alc.)
Washington Hills 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Washington, $9: Aromas range from dusty gooseberry to Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice to crème brûlée topping. A tip of the glass brings flavors of gooseberry pie and a twist of lime. (13.4% alc.)
Woodward Canyon Winery 2014 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Walla Walla Valley, $29: Hints of grapefruit, apple, fresh herbs and gravel dust are followed by apple and Bosc pear, backed by grapefruit acidity that carries beyond the finish line. (13.9% alc.)
Jones of Washington 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $15: Opening with a classic nose of gooseberry, lemongrass, spearmint and faint hint of muskiness, this gives way to brilliant acidity that provides delicious and pulsating flavors of Granny Smith apple, gooseberry and clementine. (12% alc.)
14 Hands Winery 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Washington, $12: The inclusion of sèmillon (8%) leads to approachable aromas of gooseberry pie, spearmint and fig. On the palate, it’s pleasing as layers of gooseberry, lavender and fig lead to flavors of lime sorbet topped with a sprig of mint. (13% alc.)
Airfield Estates 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $15: This beautiful example from Prosser, Wash., soars with aromas of gooseberry, lime juice, lemongrass and minty aromas — and there’s a delicious match on the palate. It’s crisp, clean and bone-dry, with a finish of Granny Smith apple and fresh thyme. (13.1% alc.)
Mercer Estates 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $14: Aromas range from gooseberry, lime peel, watermelon and lavender to sagebrush after a thunderstorm. The drink offers flavors of peach, kiwi fruit, tangerine and gooseberry, capped by great salinity and lime juice. (12.5% alc.)