2019 St Michael-Eppan Sauvignon Blanc Lahn
James Suckling | 92 JS
Wine Details for 2019 St Michael-Eppan Sauvignon Blanc Lahn
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: There are dozens of grape varietals grown in Italy so no wonder they produce such a broad range of most exquisite wines. Some of the most cultivated red varieties are Nebbiolo, Aglianico, Sangiovese, and Barbera, while Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also popular. Among whites, you're likely to find Pinot Grigio, Trebbiano, or Vernaccia varietals.
: The varietal of Sauvignon Blanc, which hails from Western France and now successfully grown in emerging and established wine regions all over the world, is an ancient grape. Sauvignon Blanc and its red counterpart, Cabernet Franc, gifted to the world of wine its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. Its progeny has become the most popular and widely planted varietal in the world but Sauvignon Blanc is no slouch, ranking among the top ten, itself.
Its exact emergence upon the earth is still undetermined, but appears to be indigenous to central France (the Loire Valley) or to the southwest France (Bordeaux). There is still discussion as to Sauvignon Blanc’s actual origins, with both Bordeaux and the Loire claiming to be the grape’s homeland. Both fashion incredible wine from the varietal and have been a leading force for the wine’s world-wide popularity. Sauvignon Blanc is so popular today, that 123,000 hectares are planted to the varietal across the world, ranking third among all white wine producing varietals, behind only Airen (218,000ha) and Chardonnay (211,000ha). The origin dispute aside, the grape’s versatility means its regions and styles are remarkably diverse, both within France and internationally.
Sauvignon Blanc’s geographical spread and versatility means it is found in a range of styles from classic dry white wines to individual, highly aromatic international interpretations to highly unctuous, sweet wines. The Loire appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume produce, arguably, the greatest example of the quintessential Sauvignon Blanc offering, often as a single-varietal and unoaked bringing forth wines that are mineral, citrusy, steely, bright and reasonably long-lived. Pouilly and Sancerre are home to some of the top selling Sauvignon Blanc domains in the world, from Dageuneau (Pouilly-Fume) to Vacheron (Sancerre).
Bordeaux also produces a classic dry white from Sauvignon Blanc, but is most often in the form of a blend of Sauvignon and Semillon. Haut-Brion Blanc, Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux (100% Sauvignon Blanc) and Cos d’Estournel Blanc are some of the top selling, quality white Bordeaux offerings. Whereas the typical winemaking techniques of Loire do not involve oak-aging, it most often does occur in Bordeaux, giving the wine a signature texture and a mix of herbal and tropical aromas. In Sauternes (including Barsac) a very unique winegrowing method is implemented. The grapes of Sauvignon Blanc (Semillon and Muscadelle) endure a long hang time in which the late Autumn fog and humid climate attracts Botrytis Cinerea, a fungus that attacks the grape, also known as noble rot. The result is an unctuous, utterly delicious golden liquid that has placed the wines of Sauternes as some of the most characteristic and expensive in the world. Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Climens are undoubtedly among the top producers in the region.
Outside of France, Sauvignon Blanc, with its diverse and easily manipulated qualities has grown in popularity and now inhabits over 38 countries in some of the greatest terroir hotspots including New Zealand, California, Chile, Spain and Australia. Sauvignon Blanc arrived in California in the 1860’s but the varietal’s mainstream influence on American consumers wouldn’t come until 1966 when Robert Mondavi fashioned a dry white in the style of a Loire wine, naming it Fume Blanc. The varietal has only grown in quality and popularity in America since.
Sauvignon Blanc thrives in terroirs and climates that mimic that of the Loire Valley, where it perhaps, reaches its full zenith. The soil consists heavily of flint (silica), which gives it a smoky aroma found in both Pouilly-Fume and Sancerre. However, Sauvignon Blanc is quite adaptable to a myriad of terroirs around the world, revealing each terroir through the wine itself. The varietal of Sauvignon Blanc is simply tremendous in its quality, non-discrimination of its elements (to a degree) and has fashioned some of the world’s most intriguing array of wines.
: Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.
Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.
The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.
The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.
With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.
: The tall, steep Dolomites in the far north of Italy with their towering peaks and nearly vertical sides provide a unique cozy shelter to the long valleys situated in their foothills. There, blessed by constant warm breeze and protected from any harm lies Trentino, home to a thousands of years-long winemaking tradition. The forty-degrees warm summers in this province may surprise first-time visitors, given the dramatic terrain of the location, but you could tell that Trentino lies within a sweet spot by their legendary wines alone, without ever having been there in person to see this place in its full glory. This is further confirmed by their expertise and skill in producing a variety of excellent wines, able to enchant a diverse audience of connoisseurs. Trentino's vast pedigree has been traditionally most notable for its honey-perfumed, sparkling, Chardonnay-based wines and the classic style of their production.
Besides the overachieving whites, Trentino offers a wonderful selection of red wines, made from indigenous Teroldego and Marzemino grapes, as well as some of the most renowned Bordeaux blends in Italy. Rich granite, earthy hues and unbelievably melty tannins are typical for this region. The options are many to choose from, though there's no need to limit oneself to sampling just one type of wine from this region.