Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular expressions of the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. It is produced in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which is perhaps the world’s leading producer of the grape.
Sauvignon Blanc originates in Bordeaux, France, where it is blended with Semillon and Muscadelle to make white Bordeaux and Entre-deux-Mers wines. It is also the signature grape of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire Valley, where the wines take on a distinctive flinty character. Thanks to leading brands such as Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria, Oyster Bay and Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc, however, Marlborough has become the grape’s spiritual home. There is, however, another country producing Sauvignon Blanc wines that can rival the best examples of Marlborough and elsewhere: Spain.
Spanish Sauvignon Blanc To Try Instead
Spain produces many wines in many different styles, though it is not especially well-known for its Sauvignon Blanc. This should not be the case, however. Sauvignon Blanc from Spain can be truly excellent, as the following examples will illustrate.
The Rueda region produces fresh and vibrant whites that are ready to drink immediately. This example from Pagos del Rey is no exception, offering tropical fruit aromas of pineapple and mango with some herbaceous and grassy notes. On the palate, you will find tingling acidity, plenty of fruit character and a light, easy-drinking style. Perfectly drinkable by itself, this Rueda Sauvignon Blanc will compliment light appetisers of all kinds as well as fresh seafood dishes. This wine is a crowdpleaser, capable of competing with Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc and other Marlborough wines, and at a very accessible price too!
Coming from the Penedès region, this Sauvignon Blanc differs from Nobilo and most Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in that it undergoes three months of aging in new French oak barrels. As a result it is a more complex expression of the grape than you might expect from Analivia and Nobilo. The time in oak adds weight and structure, and imparts secondary characteristics of vanilla, toast and cream. The nose is intense with tropical fruit and mineral notes, leading to a fuller and smoother palate, offering creamy roundness with an underlying acidity and freshness. This will pair nicely with stronger seafood dishes such as fish stew, as well as mature cheeses and pasta dishes.
Marqués de Riscal is best known as one of the top producers of red Rioja wines. This Sauvignon Blanc from the Rueda region demonstrates the maker’s capacity for high quality white wines, too. This wine has spent some time on its fine lees during winemaking, adding volume and weight and increasing its aging ability. This places it somewhere between Analivia Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and Gramona Sauvignon Blanc 2013 in terms of body and mouthfeel. It is pale yellow in colour with green highlights along the rim. It has an enticing nose of tropical fruits with fresh grass, not unlike the best Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs. On the palate, it is easy to drink with a nice length. Perfect with appetisers and fish, this Rueda would also pair well with earthier rice and pasta dishes.
Top Tip: You’ll Find The Best Spanish Sauvignon Blanc in Rueda
Spain is still experimenting with international varieties in its various regions. Sometimes, a foreign planting isn’t as good as the local varieties, and sometimes as in Rueda with sauvignon blanc, a perfect match is found. The region now makes great sauvignon blanc thanks to its:
- Chalky soil;
- Continental climate;
- Cool summer nights.
In fact, it has excellent conditions to make great light, white wines. While the region experiments with planting new varieties, it is also using innovative wine-making techniques to maximise the aromas of peaches and melons in its bottles. What’s more, the region also caters to palettes wanting a heavier kind of whites. You will find some sauvignon blanc from Rueda which has been aged in oak, which will give it some delicious buttery notes, but these will be rarer – so bag a bottle if you see one.