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Uncork sauvignon blanc for a true taste of summer

Sauvignon blanc grapes about two-three weeks before harvesting.

Sauvignon blanc grapes about two-three weeks before harvesting.  Credit: Newsday/Bill Davis

Yes, open that bottle of rosé. Sure, sip chardonnay. But if you want a true taste of summer, uncork sauvignon blanc.

Crisp and dry, with bracing acidity, classic sauvignon blanc is ideal - an august wine, lowercase or capitalized.

You'll find it, of course, under its varietal name. Essential sauvignon blanc comes from the Loire Valley: Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. In California, Robert Mondavi brought imbibers Fume Blanc and other producers followed with that name, too.

Zesty, dry sauvignon blanc is made in New Zealand as well as South Africa, Austria, the Tre Venezie region of Italy, and Bordeaux. In addition to California, look to Washington State. Several Long Island wineries produce memorable ones.

The taste and aroma will differ place by place. Although the wines dubbed fume blanc suggest that they have a smoky quality, that isn't always the case. Generally, they aren't herbaceous, either, but lean more toward fruitiness. The wines of New Zealand, in contrast, are racy, taut and suggest lime, green vegetables, and lots of herbs.

Look for the sauvignon blanc of New Zealand's Cloudy Bay, Kim Crawford, Brancott, Nautilus, and Greywacke. From the Loire: Baron de Ladoucette, Cotat, Morin, Lucien Crochet, Didier Dagueneau, and Gerard Boulay; in the United States, Cliff Lede, Franciscan, and Grgich Hills.

On Long Island, Jamesport Vineyards, Raphael in Peconic, and Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue make vibrant dry sauvignon blanc. And Paumanok produces a sensational late-harvest sauvignon blanc, one of the region's great "dessert wines."

Dry sauvignon blanc is a partner for spicy food, raw oysters, tuna tartare, grilled shrimp, smoked salmon, fried chicken, and grilled pork.

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