Chardonnay is still the most-planted white grape on Long Island, but few think that it’s the white grape that best captures the essence of the region’s terroir. For most, including me, that grape is sauvignon blanc.
Wölffer Estate’s Roman Roth hasn’t been making sauvignon blanc as long as some local winemakers, but his wines are always fine examples — fresh, clean and seafood-ready. Our wine of the week, Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($22) is no different.
The technical notes for this wine have this to say about sauvignon blanc on Long Island:
“Sauvignon Blanc is one of the varieties most suitable to grow on Long Island. The special dynamic between the abundance of intense sun and our cooling maritime sea breeze provide a setting to make fantastic Sauvignon Blancs with distinct mineral character and ripe fruit.”
Made from 100 percent sauvignon blanc grown on three different vineyards, it is also emblematic of the 2016 growing season, which was dry early on, but not super-hot and with rains around harvest time. It’s more citrusy and pear-driven with bright acidity and a distinct saline minerality.
I read a story this week by one of my favorite wine writers, Jon Bonne of PUNCH, where he argues that wine isn’t seasonal in the same way that food is and that wine is more food-adjacent than food. He makes some interesting points, but when you taste a wine like this, you immediately think of warm weather.
It’s made in a clean, lean style that is the perfect foil for raw oysters, seafood pastas or a day at the beach. Or, as Roth says “This is the perfect lunch wine in the summer. Crisp, refreshing and lip-smacking good!”