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Guide to White Wine Grape Varieties & Types

Wine Guide

The Sauvignon Blanc
Wine Grape:

The Standard for Zesty and Refreshing White Wine

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Grape

Sauvignon Blanc is a great all-around white wine: zesty in style it refreshes the palate making it a great choice to drink on its own or providing great acidity for food pairing. It has a balance of easy-drinking qualities with complex flavors, and also comes in a wide range of styles depending on where the grapes are grown or how the wines are crafted.

The History of Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc originated in the South West of France as a native variety. The name literally translates to 'wild white' as testament to its roots as an indigenous grape. It has long been grown in the Bordeaux region of France where it continues to be the primary white grape of the region, and was also imported throughout the New World in the 19th and 20th century and is one of the world's most popular fine white wine grapes today.

Qualities of the Sauvignon Blanc Grape

Sauvignon Blanc vines are traditionally grown in warmer climates, and good sun exposure generally helps to avoid underripe flavors that can be less pleasant with this grape - grass, green pepper or "cat box". Yes, it can literally have odors of cat urine, which is obviously to be avoided. The vines are also relatively vigorous so managing crop size is key to getting the ideal level of ripening as well as concentration of flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Characteristics

Body: light to medium
Acidity: medium to high
Flavors: grapefruit, melon, citrus flavors; some show hints of grass or herbal qualities, or a distinctive pungent note of gooseberry

Regions Where Sauvignon Blanc is Grown

- In France's Bordeaux and Loire Valley appellations
- In Australia's Margaret River region
- New Zealand's South Island, including the Marlborough region

- In many parts of California, including Napa and Alexander Valleys
- Chile's Valparaiso region

Sauvignon Blanc Fast Facts

- Bottled by regional name in France (Bordeaux; Pouilly Fumé; Sancerre; Sauternes - a dessert wine from Bordeaux)
- Bottled by varietal name outside of France
- The alternate name 'Fumé Blanc' invented by Robert Mondavi is also occasionally used in the U.S.
- Famous Producers: Henri Bourgeois, Didier Dagueneau, Cloudy Bay
- Generally best drunk young - some dessert styles such as Sauternes can be aged for many decades

Sauvignon Blanc Wine & Food Pairing

- Sauvignon Blanc's backbone of acidity makes it versatile with a wide variety of foods - we find it stands up well to briny olives or olive-oil based sauces, as well as fish and chicken
- Easy Food and Wine pairings with Sauvignon Blanc:
      Chicken Cutlets with Green Spanish Olives
        Chicken Saltimbocca with Sundried Tomatoes
         Italian Wedding Soup


Here are some of our favorites:

    2009 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc
Riper, full style with a kiss of oak aging that showcases this grape's lusher side. ($27)

  2006 Hogue Fume Blanc
Fruit-forward rather than tart in style, this wine has charm and a pleasant hint of creaminess. ($8)

  2009 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc
Excellent balance of citrusy freshness with softer, lusher flavor of other stone fruits. ($10)

  2008 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
One of the classics of New Zealand. Zesty gooseberry and exotic lychee notes are enticing. ($25)

 



 

 


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