This weekend marks the official beginning of spring, and for me, no wine embraces the season better than sauvignon blanc. Whether you like that in-your-face style typical of New Zealand or prefer the smooth, oak-laced wines from California and France, the grape always provides a freshness that appeals. Here are three very different sauvignon blancs:
2009 Forty-Two Degrees South Sauvignon Blanc, $11.99
The name refers to the central latitude of Tasmania, the Australian island this winery calls home. Stylistically, their sauvignon blanc has a lot in common with those from its Kiwi neighbor. The aromas are on the sassy side, with racy grapefruit, lime, guava and grass. Vibrant gooseberry and citrus flavors fill the mouth, while crisp acidity keeps things clean and fresh. It's springtime in a bottle.
2009 Hall Sauvignon Blanc, $18.99
There's a certain elegance to the nose of this wine with its floral mix of citrus, peach and tropical fruit. Lush and creamy on the palate, the ripe gooseberry, guava and blood orange flavors are perfectly balanced by the right hit of acidity, while a nice touch of mineral and grass colors the finish. This Napa, Calif., classic sees just a bit of oak, which adds structure and texture rather than flavor.
2008 Ladoucette Les Deux Tours Sauvignon Blanc, $14.99
From France's Loire valley, the Les Deux Tours is fermented and aged in stainless steel (no oak) and offers a unique array of aromas including grapefruit, clover, spring salad greens and dandelion. A bit of that clover comes through on the fresh and lively palate, with bright citrus and melon fruit backed by soft grass, mineral and herb. A deliciously different take on sauvignon blanc.