While passing by a restaurant recently, I overheard a customer order a glass of “the Sauvignon Blanc.” I wondered what she’d end up with, where this wine was from and who had made it––all the while lamenting the use of a grape variety to convey an entire category. It got me thinking of all the possibilities that might fall under the umbrella of Sauvignon Blanc, especially when considering the diverse selections within our own portfolio. Whether single-variety bottlings or blends that feature the grape, the wines in this collection unite a wide range of styles and expressions of Sauvignon Blanc from both France and Italy. The most classic Sauvignon Blanc comes from its birthplace in the Loire Valley, and brings to mind citrusy and verdant expressions like those from Quincy, Cheverny, and Reuilly. Nervy and refreshing, these wines are slightly herbaceous with a racy undercurrent. They make for great quaffers and apéritifs. Travel east of these appellations to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where soils––rich with Kimmeridgian limestone and littered with fossils––bring layers of complexity and texture to the resulting wines. For a throwback taste to the Sancerres of yesteryear, try Neveu’s rare “Pierre-François Xavier” cuvée, which is aged in oak barrels in small quantities and produced only in exceptional years. In neighboring Pouilly-Fumé, Minet’s Vieilles Vignes consistently spotlights the flinty and chalky qualities in the soils that make this outpost for Sauvignon Blanc so special. And lastly, south of the Loire Valley in Bordeaux, the Sauvignon blends we import from Ducasse and Graville-Lacoste are electric, fruit-driven, and zesty as is the exceptionally saline, bone-dry “Définition” from Domaine de l’Alliance. Though Sauvignon Blanc didn’t appear in Italy until the 1800s, it found a second home in areas where the production of high-quality white wines has long been a focus: on the Alpine slopes of the Dolomites in Alto Adige as well as the more coastal foothills of Friuli. In the Alps, thanks to high elevation and significant diurnal shifts, grapes ripen slowly, adding to their complexity and bringing more stone fruit and depth to the palate. Peter Dipoli’s “Voglar” from limestone soil exudes a powerful, chiseled mineral structure. In Friuli, the vernal aromas so common to Sauvignon Blanc grown in France are less pronounced, but the wines, like those from Kante and Duline––marked by converging influences from Italy and Slovenia––are nonetheless vivacious. With this collection, we invite you to try “the Sauvignon Blanc,” just don’t expect that any two bottles will tell the same story.
Raised in the Languedoc city of Nîmes with no family background in wine, Ludovic Engelvin did not have a straightforward path to becoming a vigneron. On the contrary, the road was long, winding, and at times uncertain. But after a formative stint in the late Didier Dagueneau’s cellar and another working as sommelier in an haute cuisine establishment, a dream took hold.
Olivier Savary was not always destined to make wine. Even though many of his relatives around the Chablisien village of Maligny did, a string of challenging harvests had discouraged Olivier’s parents from joining the family business.
For years, Kermit has praised the pleasures of the Languedoc and the rewards in store for those willing to explore it: “If you’re looking for value, look where no one else is looking.” It’s been 31 years since he penned that phrase, and the Languedoc is still home to our very best values in French wine. Now through the end of the month, take 20% off dozens of garrigue-laden reds, evocative whites, and thirst-quenching rosés from France’s most underrated region.
Here you will discover twelve examples from Italian and French vignerons who have resisted the tendency to globalize their vineyards, honorably sustaining the varieties native to their respective terroirs.
Even the most renowned vignerons in Villié-Morgon tend to be laid back and unassuming despite the monumental Gamays they produce—perhaps none more so than Jean Foillard. One of Morgon’s “Gang of Four” Kermit first championed thirty years ago, Jean farms some of the cru’s most celebrated vineyards and his translation of these schist, granite, and sandstone terroirs is never anything short of breathtaking.
When I moved to Burgundy many years ago, I befriended a young Savoyard who had recently inherited some family vineyards, and he invited me for a tour of his vines in the village of Chignin. Having never set foot in Chignin, nor ever tasted a wine from Savoie, I gladly accepted his invitation.
With our spirits high and palates cleansed, we left the winery awed by his Kerner: a wine of pinpoint focus, featuring aromas of tropical fruit that jump out of the glass. Equally stunning is the Veltliner.
When the esteemed French wine artist Michel Tolmer created beautiful artwork for our 50th anniversary, we knew right away that we had to feature it on a few select items of merch. After spending maybe a little too much time researching the options, we landed on a classy, leather-strap cap, a comfortable t-shirt made from 100% cotton, and a tote made with incredibly sturdy, fair-trade, and organic cotton by a certified B corp that invests in the livelihoods of women and farmers of India, featuring three wine sleeves and two other compartments for all of your other needs!