Do you love the smell of fresh cut grass & a tangy freshness? Then Sauvignon Blanc might be the white wine of choice for you. The versatility of this grape allows it to be grown in many regions, and thus will have a variety of styles, ranging from clean to luscious.
Racy acidity & slight "green" herbal flavors. Expect pungent aromas. Often dry, crisp & acidic, you'll get a variety of tropical & citrus flavors like passionfruit, grapefruit, and if oaked, are often blended with Semillon to give it a creamy or waxy texture.
Expect varying levels of "green" notes from gooseberry to grass & dried herbs. These "green" notes come from the methoxpyrazine compound, which also gives other grapes like Cabernet Franc & Carmenere similar green notes. It's profile varies quite a lot depending where it's grown, and you can get everything from lean & dry to rounded & plush. One unmistakeable aromas is a "cat pee" aroma, from a chemical compound commonly called "4MMP"
Pair it with light herb based meals, such as a herb infused aglio olio, or a herb baked fish, for example. Classic French pairing would be goat cheese, but you can also pair it with most light soft cheeses
It's actually the parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon (the other being Cabernet Franc)! Originating from the Loire Valley in France, these grapes are now grown all over the world, including New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, USA, but also other many other regions
LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Flint, Lime, Gooseberry
What makes Loire Valley wine interesting is the diversity of mineral driven soils found within the valley. The same chalk vein that runs through Champagne & Chablis also cuts through the Loire Valley. The 3 main types of mineral soil are:
- Terres Blanche; a mixture of clay, limestone (from the chalk vein) & oyster shells, leading to highly acidic wines
- Caillotes; pebbles of limestone, leading to elegant wines with delicate perfumes
- Silex; otherwise known as flint, which gives the wine a smoky character
Over 50% of Loire Valley comes from 5 distinct areas, of which Sancerre & Pouilly-Fumé are some of the most popular ones. Expect mineral driven wines with Sancerre being more vibrant & lively, while Pouilly-Fume being softer & richer. Other regions include Reuilly, Quincy & Menetou-Salon.
Honeysuckle, Peach, Lemongrass
You would find richer & smoother Sauvignon Blancs, due to the trend of "lees" contact & barrel aging. Often blended with Semillon or Muscadelle, especially in the Graves & Pessac-Léognan appellations, some these coveted white Bordeaux can be found at the top end of the white wine range, over $1,000 a bottle!
MARLBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND
Passion fruit, Gooseberry, Tomato StalksPear
A big innovator of Sauvignon Blanc, it's usually to find racy acidity & vibrant bell pepper, gooseberry & passion fruit notes, a result of the extremely high sun exposure & gravel soils. It's normal to find winemakers leaving some level of residual sugars to combat the high acidity.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Another new world wine making region, you will find a lot of their Sauvignon Blancs sit midway between the elegance of Sancerre & pungence of New Zealand. Florishing in the cooler climate South African regions, they have explore styles including oak & amphora ageing.
Aconcagua (Chile), California (USA), Washington (USA), Adelaide Hills & Margaret River (Australia) are among the other more up and coming regions creating their own styles of Sauvignon Blanc. Generally grown in the cooler climate areas, they embrace the green notes & racy acidity of SB.