- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sauvignon Republic, Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2008, $20

It’s midsummer, and the tomatoes hang heavy on the vine. In the Washington area, the combination of a cool, wet June and a warm, dry July seems to have produced a bountiful harvest, with plenty of ripe but also zesty-tasting fruit. If, like me these days, you’re using tomatoes in everything from salads to pastas (anything but dessert), you’re probably also wondering what wine to choose.

Try young, unoaked sauvignon blanc. This varietal is high in natural acidity and, much like a fresh-picked tomato, it tastes vibrant.

Top-flight sauvignon blancs in this fresh, vivacious style come from many places, including Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume in France’s Loire Valley, Casablanca in Chile, Marlborough in New Zealand and Stellenbosch in South Africa. Vineyards in the last of these have shale- and granite-laced soils that help impart an appealing impression of minerality to the wines. That secondary note enhances the more forward grapefruit and green melon fruit flavors typical of this grape, making the wines ideal choices for enjoying summer’s bounty.

Sauvignon Republic is a California-based company devoted to wines made from this singular grape variety. Two of the founding partners are restaurant chefs who prize sauvignon for its ability to complement all sorts of fresh cuisines, everything from Asian to Mediterranean preparations. This time of year, I certainly agree - so long as the dish in question contains tomatoes. (Stay tuned next week for a great wine to pair with dishes made with that other mid-Atlantic summer delight, sweet corn.)

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