Exploring Sauvignon Blanc

Exploring Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape grown throughout the world, largely in cool climate wine regions. It is characteristically high in acid and low in sugar – good for those who are limiting their sugar intake. Common flavors include grapefruit, gooseberry, grass, lime, lemongrass, and green apple although the intensity of each of these flavors in the wine will vary by its growing region.

The exact origins of Sauvignon Blanc are debated, but the consensus is that it came from either the Loire Valley, or the Bordeaux region of France.  These two regions produce a variety of Sauvignon Blanc styles.  Sancerre, Puilly-Fume, and Touraine in the Loire Valley are known for producing crisp, unoaked Sauvignon Blancs.  The flinty soil of Puilly-Fume is said to give it a smoky characteristic (Fume means “smoke”).  Sauvignon Blancs of Loire have distinct herbaceous notes, minerality, and citrus notes of gooseberry and lime.   

While Loire Sauvignon Blancs are normally 100% varietal, Bordeaux Blancs are frequently a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and sometimes Muscadelle.  These wines commonly see some oak as part of the aging process.  Bordeaux Blancs display less minerality and herbaceous notes.  Semillon adds floral notes and a slight waxy/oily mouthfeel.  The Chateau Petit Moulin Bordeaux Blanc has aromas of Broom and Acacia flowers. 

New Zealand winemakers started planting Sauvignon Blanc in the 1970s.  It has become one of the country’s signature grapes.  New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are generally unoaked with strong grapefruit and tropical fruit flavors.  The herbaceous notes and minerality are less than you tend to find in French versions. 

The warmer climates of Sonoma and Napa counties in California produce Sauvignon Blancs, like Voss, with more melon and tropical fruit flavors and less citrus and herbaceous flavors.  Styles can include both oaked and unoaked varieties. 

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