During Dry January, it’s easy to get caught up in the non-alcoholic narrative, however, only about a quarter to a third of us are actually abstaining this month. So for the Damp Januarians out there, or for those just observing “January” as regularly scheduled programming, here’s a different Dry January approach: dry white wines to try as alternatives to Sauvignon Blanc.
Why do we need Sauvignon Blanc alternatives, you ask? Because it’s not just Dry January, is it? It’s resolution season, therefore: new year, new you, new grapes in your glass, amirite? Sauvignon Blanc has been one of our top, go-to whites ever since New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc market sprang into glorious existence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Affordable and consistent, yes, but as GuildSomm writer Bryce Wiatrak once pointed out, Sauvignon Blanc’s personality is often summarized by experts as “always reliable, rarely transcendent.”
Whether or not you seek transcendence, in simpler terms, there are literally thousands of wine grapes the world over, and yet we tend to drink the same eight or so on repeat, so let’s try something new this year, shall we? Wine educator May Matta-Aliah, DWS, delineates why we are so attracted to Sauvignon Blanc. “When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, what consumers are responding to are wines that are expressive,” she says, “not of winemaking techniques such as overt oak aging, for example, but of the grape variety itself. With its vibrant aromatics and refreshing levels of acidity, Sauvignon Blanc wines are juicy and singular.”
With that in mind, here are six grapes to try that bring those familiar, juicy, expressive Sauvignon Blanc vibes to make you comfortable, while also making you feel like you tried something new.
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