Wine of the Week – The Rare Sauvignon Gris
I can hear you! “Sauvignon Gris you say”… “That can’t be right – it is Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris”… Well this grape does exist. Much the like the purple muscatel grape I wrote about a while back, the Sauvignon Gris is another rare grape that is on the brink of extinction because of its low yields and temperamental nature. It has been revived in the Graves region near Bordeaux recently. It is also grown in Chile. It came over with cuttings of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Vert. Despite the troubles with the grape, they have persisted and are producing some of the best examples of the wine at the moment.
This week’s Wine of the Week is the Casa Silva 2008 Sauvignon Gris. The Sauvignon Gris vines at the estate have been in place since 1912. This makes it one of the best examples of wine in the world. The grape has a little more sugar content that the Sauvignon Blanc. Therefore it has a little more character and depth. It makes a great partner with rice based dishes. If you are going to have a Latin American wine, then why not try some traditional food. I was lucky enough to try this wine with a Costa Rican style arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), but you could use seafood or a vegetarian option. Surprisingly the wine is priced at around €10, so it makes it outstanding value for such an idiosyncratic grape variety as this.
The estate of Casa Silva was a pioneer in the Colchagua Valley. This particular area is responsible for some of the best quality of wine out of the Chile. This wine is no exception and at great value for money. Although Chile has been consistently producing good wine for some time now, the added competition from Argentina and now a new kid on the block, Brazil, has made them also raise their game.
I did a piece last week on some of the decisions the wine producers make when deciding on the sealing method for their wines. As with many wines from new world, this wine has a screw top. Similarly with all wines sealed in this way, including white wines, make sure you open it early. The air-tight seal makes the wine a little lifeless if you drink it immediately after opening. The wine, and more importantly your appreciation of it, definitely benefits with a bit of contact with oxygen.
So if you have not tried a Sauvignon Gris, I recommend you give it a go. Also if you have not tried a Chilean wine for a while, then I encourage you to give one a try. I think you will pleasantly surprised.