A recent WSJ wine column features Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes referred to as Fumé Blanc. Without providing any data, the writer seems to believe that sauvignon blanc is second to chardonnay in white wine’s popularity, ie. sales. Interestingly enough, according to this site’s wine poll, visible on the sidebar here, it’s 2nd, but trailing pinot grigio by a handsome margin. Probably reflecting this site’s younger readership, chardonnay isn’t very popular.
There are a few explanations. There is the anything but chardonnay (ABC) backlash and the fact that inexpensive chardonnay doesn’t stack up well versus inexpensive pinot grigios or sauvignon blancs. I did share an excellent bottle of chardonnay a few weeks ago (2007 Mondavi — they make some good ones I guess). At $20 from the grocery I guess it wasn’t cheap — 2007 represented a strong year for Napa chardonnay.
Personally, Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite wine and a near certainty when paring with most whitefish and some types of shellfish. It’s crispy acidity is a nice complement, without being overbearing. Add that to the fact that there are good bottles under $10 and it’s a winner. Note that I live in California and proximity to the vineyards probably lowers the cost of locally-grown wines. Regions that I favor are: Central Coast (Monterey County, Santa Barbara County / Santa Ynez Valley), as well as the always strong Napa and Sonoma Valleys. While I prefer dry, herbaceous wines, don’t be surprised if your bottle is a bit different, perhaps with a stronger oak influence. I won’t recommend any particular bottles, but test a few out and as long as you don’t try pairing with ribeye, there should be a bottle for everyone.