Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day
Today, May 4th is the day we celebrate the Sauvignon Blanc. A grape that is grown all over the world and produces a nice crisp and acidic wine. Some regions more acidic than others. It is the 8th most widely planted grape.
Sauvignon Blanc is the parent to Cabernet Sauvignon along with Cabernet Franc. It was first discovered in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux region of France. It is believed that the name was conceived from the French word sauvage which means wild and the vines grew like a weed when they were discovered.
In France the main growing regions for Sauvignon Blanc are Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. In Bordeaux the Sauvignon Blanc is usually blended with Semillon to create the Bordeaux white blend. I personally find the Semillon tames the acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc and makes if feel a bit more full bodied. You will find flavors of lemons, grapefruit, lime and green apple. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are used to produce Sauternes which is a late harvest dessert wine produced in Bordeaux.
Sauvignon Blanc produced from the Loire Valley goes under the names of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Look for those names on the label.
New Zealand is known for their Sauvignon Blanc and was first planted in 1975. In fact it’s their signature wine. In New Zealand there are over 50,000 acres spread over 11 regions planted with Sauvignon Blanc. Although they produce only 1% of the worlds production of this wine, 86% of Sauvignon Blanc is exported every year. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I feel is the most acidic Sauvignon Blanc. You might find some characteristics of tropical fruit, grapefruit, fresh cut grass, lime and “cat pee” jumping out of the glass.
Chile is a newer region to plant Sauvignon Blanc. It is grown in the Casablanca, Bio-Bio,Colchagua, Leyda, San Antonio, Elqui and Limari regions. You will find nice crisp soft acidity with tropical fruit and citrus flavors.
South Africa is another region with Sauvignon Blanc. I got hooked on the wine from the Stellenbosch Vineyards a few years back. It has nice crisp acidity but not racy like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It’s an acidic step down and very enjoyable.
In the United States Sauvignon Blanc is grown in California, Oregon and New York and probably a few other places as well. Charles Wetmore is responsible for bringing Sauvignon Blanc to California and planted them for his winery in the Livermore area. There was a time when California Sauvignon Blanc was a hard sell. Robert Mondavi is responsible for re-branding it Fume Blanc which he aged in oak. The oak will tone down the acidity quite a bit. Fume Blanc is still made today, so just note that it’s got a touch of oak to it.
I tend to compare Sauvignon Blanc on an acid scale where the New Zealand is 10 with racy acidity. I would rate California Sauvignon Blanc a 7 as well as New York Sauvignon Blanc.
Even though it’s the same grape grown all over the world, the tasting profile will change according to the terroir of the region. Where some you will get straight citrus, others tropical fruit, earth tones, minerality, green apple, pineapple, fresh cut grass, honey, jasmine, gooseberries, yes and the famous “cat pee”.
What is your favorite region for Sauvignon Blanc?
I’m leaving you with a video I did a few years ago where me and my neighbors did a blind tasting of Sauvignon Blanc. It was a fun night and we tasted until the sun went down. Here is a link to the entire article if you wish to read it http://hudsonvalleywinegoddess.com/sauvignon-blanc-day-and-prom-2/