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The vineyards around the hilltop town of Sancerre, in France’s Loire Valley, produce some of the finest (but quite razor-sharp in terms of acidity levels) sauvignon blancs. (Associated Press)
The vineyards around the hilltop town of Sancerre, in France’s Loire Valley, produce some of the finest (but quite razor-sharp in terms of acidity levels) sauvignon blancs. (Associated Press)

Are there any sauvignon blanc wines that are low in acidity? Add to ...

The question

My favourite wine is a sauvignon blanc. Do you know any sauvignon blancs low in acidity?

The answer

That’s a little like asking if there are any Hollywood stars with small egos. It’s all relative, because sauvignon blanc is by nature a high-acid grape.

Racy verve is what underscores the white variety’s bright notes of citrus and herbs. Styles do vary, though, depending on region and winemaking technique, and some carry less-perceptible bite than others.

California popularized what may be the tamest style, dubbed “fumé blanc.” The term denotes wines that have been subjected to oak-barrel fermentation and in some cases even short-term oak-barrel maturation. Those techniques tend to diminish the variety’s herbal overtones and also lend a richer, softer feel to the texture. One consistently fine offering is the granddaddy of the style, Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fumé Blanc.

Another good source to consider is South Africa, whose sauvignon blancs tend to be rounder than the quintessentially razor-sharp wines of France’s Loire Valley (including those of the famed Sancerre district) and Marlborough in New Zealand.

Sunshine and heat play significantly into the equation where acidity is concerned. The riper the grapes, the lower the acidity. Which is why you find many sauvignon blancs from southern France, too, to be slightly more approachable than those of the Loire. So, keep in mind such regions as Languedoc-Roussillon or Côtes de Gascogne, which, like South Africa, can also be relied on for attractive prices.

And you might also consider Bordeaux. The region’s white wines generally are made mostly with, or entirely from, sauvignon blanc. Again, these tend to be slightly softer than those of the cooler Loire to the north, particularly when the blend contains sémillon that’s seen some oak contact.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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