From Beer to There: Lieb Cellars Reserve Sauvignon Blanc & Pale Ale

derek second post

Hello to everyone out in Lieb Land! This is the second installment of my blog topic, From Beer to There, where we will be drawing parallels between Lieb wines and craft beer. Today we will be discussing Lieb’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and a versatile style in craft beer: Pale Ale.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite white wine varieties. The grape originally hails from Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France but also grows well on Long Island due to its ability to ripen quickly. It can offer a wide variety of flavors depending on the climate in which it’s being grown. In warmer climates like Sonoma Valley, California, Sauvignon Blanc tends to exhibit tropical fruit, almost sweet notes.  In cooler climates like the Marlborough region of New Zealand, it’s a whole other animal – grassy and herbaceous with razor sharp acidity. The Sauvignon Blancs that we produce here on the North Fork seem to fall somewhere in between. Crisp and bright with medium acidity and mostly citrus notes. When I taste our Lieb Cellars Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, I’m immediately reminded of fresh lime juice. YUM.

While I’d probably liken a super acidic, intense New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to India Pale Ales (known for their hoppy bitterness), I think the better comparison to our Lieb Sauv Blanc is with American Pale Ales. APA’s still have a strong hop quality to them, but the difference is they are usually lower in IBU (International Bitterness Unit) and more malt balanced, thus less aggressive on the pallet. Hops, not unlike different varieties of wine grapes, have many distinct flavors depending on their variety and where they are grown. The most widely used hop in APA’s is Cascade which tends to lend citrus notes, notes of pine and grass, or even some slightly tropical notes. Sound familiar?

In my opinion, APAs are easy to sip and offer the craft beer drinker a bit more nuance than say a typical malt forward lager or pilsner or a super hoppy IPA. It’s the perfect medium for someone looking for a middle ground beer. Not overbearingly hoppy, but certainly not boring. Sauvignon Blanc from our climate falls in the same camp for me. Not as intense as New Zealand or Loire Sauvignon Blanc but just enough zip and flavor to keep me sipping.

If you’re looking for a classic APA example then Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is your beer. It’s an icon. Some even say it started the craft beer movement. A local APA standout for me is Moustache Brewing’s Life Of Leisure APA. Crafted with Chinook, Colombus and Cascade hops, it’s citrusy and well balanced. Like our Reserve Sauv Blanc, it’s refreshing and flavorful without being bitter or overwhelming. Both have and will continue to be my go-to summer beer and wine choices. Well, for as long as our Sauvignon Blanc is still available!  It’s almost sold out!

Thanks for tuning in. Keep an eye out for my next installment, where I’ll be likening our Reserve Pinot Blanc to some of the lighter styles in craft beer like Kölsch from Germany or Farmhouse Ales from Belgium. This is getting fun!

Derek Lustig

Tasting Room Associate & Resident Craft Beer Guy