Wapisa Sauvignon Blanc 2017
"Wapisa" is the indigenous Patagonian word for "whale." Not only do whales frequent the nearby coast of the winery's vineyards, but a local legend talks of a wapisa that actually lived on land. The wines, like the wapisa, are an expression not just of their soils but of the nearby ocean as well.
Located in San Javier, Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina, Wapisa is just 25 miles from the Atlantic ocean. Wapisa is the only winery that exists in this unique coastal terroir. The vineyard "Finca Los Acantilados" is an estate that stands out for its lime clay soils, good acidity and little organic matter. This is complemented by outstanding thermal amplitude as maritime breezes push in for the night, leading to balanced and fruity wines with a delicate varietal expression.
One of the most southerly regions on the globe for fine wine production, Patagonia has experienced extraordinary vineyard expansion since the early 2000s.
Patagonia vineyards occupy the lower foothills of the Andes at 1,000 to 1,600 feet. Here cold air drops at night from incredibly steep elevations—the Andes reach well over 15,000 feet in this zone—a phenomenon that produces drastic diurnal shifts. Cold nights contrasted with hot summer days produce grapes with striking color, full ripeness, great finesse and aromatic intensity.
Favored for its luxury brands, the Patagonia wine growing region of Argentina focuses on a diverse array of international varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillón and Viognier among the white grapes, and Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.
The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.