Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape from western France, now successfully grown in emerging and established wine regions all over the world. One in its own, Sauvignon Blanc is a pale-colored white that is known for its straight forwardness. And where its flavors are not hiding away in the background.
It is very unique due to its citrus, grassy and herbaceous profile, featuring flavors like bell pepper, asparagus, limestone and gun flint. Fruit flavors can be detected as well such as green apple, peach, passion fruit, gooseberry and lime. Most Sauvignon Blanc wines are very dry, however some winemakers add residual sugar to create a sweet, rich taste.
It is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, therefore it has a variety of styles and flavors. It’s commonly used in the production of dessert wines. Its origins are in the Bordeaux region of France and its name comes from the French words sauvage, meaning wild, and blanc, meaning white.
While the grape may be more readily associated with the Loire Valley (for its pivotal role in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, it is more likely to have originated from Bordeaux, where it is typically blended with Semillion
HACK: there is a particularly close correlation between the perceived flavors and their descriptors, making Sauvignon Blanc an ideal wine with which to begin wine-tasting lessons.
The rise of New Zealand
In the late 20th Century, a new region began to gain a reputation as one of the great Sauvignon Blanc regions of the world: Marlborough, at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. The rapid development of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most dramatic events in the world of wine. The intense and readily accessible flavor of a classic Marlborough “Savvy” has captured a vast market around the globe, from the United States and Canada to the UK and northern Europe, Australia and Japan. In 2015, Sauvignon Blanc accounted for around 85% of New Zealand’s wine exports.
Food pairing: Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with greens because of its herbaceous flavors, so think of dishes that feature chives or mint or cilantro. Serve chilled for the best experience.
Regions: Outside France and New Zealand, the Savvy V has been relatively successful in New World regions such as:
- Casablanca and San Antonia, Chile
- South Africa
- Cooler coastal regions of Australia
- Alto Adige, Friuli and Friulano, Italy
- British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, Canada
When combined with Semillon, as it is in most Bordeaux blanc, Sauvignon is found in some of the world’s finest dry white wines. Although generally a minor component, it also plays an important role alongside Semillon in Sauternes, the closest the variety gets to the top end of the wine spectrum. This blend has become a spectacle in the boutique Margret River region, in Australia.