Sauvignon Blanc - a crisp refresher
Sauvignon Blanc: A Guide to Its History, Types, and Top Producers
Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape variety that is grown in many wine regions around the world. It is known for producing crisp, refreshing wines that are enjoyed by wine lovers all over the globe. In this article, we'll explore the history of Sauvignon Blanc, some common types, and the top countries that produce and consume it.
History of Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is thought to have originated in the Bordeaux region of France, although its exact origins are not known. The grape has been cultivated in the region for several centuries and was first mentioned in written records in the 18th century.
In the mid-1800s, Sauvignon Blanc began to be planted in the Loire Valley in France, where it quickly became one of the most important white grape varieties. In the 20th century, Sauvignon Blanc continued to gain popularity around the world, and it is now widely planted in many different wine regions.
Types of Sauvignon Blanc
There are many different types and names of Sauvignon Blanc, depending on where it is grown and how it is produced. Here are some of the most common types of Sauvignon Blanc:
- Sauvignon Blanc: This is the most common name for wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. These wines are typically dry, crisp, and acidic, with flavors of citrus, green apple, and grass.
- Fumé Blanc: Fumé Blanc is a name used in California to describe Sauvignon Blanc that has been aged in oak barrels. These wines have a richer, more complex flavor profile, with notes of vanilla and spice in addition to the classic Sauvignon Blanc flavors.
- Sancerre: Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley of France that is known for its Sauvignon Blanc wines. Sancerre wines are typically dry, crisp, and mineral-driven, with flavors of grapefruit, lemon, and herbs.
- Pouilly-Fumé: Pouilly-Fumé is another region in the Loire Valley that produces Sauvignon Blanc wines. These wines are similar in style to Sancerre, but they often have a smoky, flinty character that is unique to the region.
- Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Marlborough is a region in New Zealand that has become famous for its Sauvignon Blanc wines. These wines are known for their intense, tropical fruit flavors, such as passionfruit and guava, as well as their bright acidity.
- Bordeaux Blanc: Bordeaux Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes that is commonly produced in the Bordeaux region of France. These wines are often aged in oak barrels, giving them a richer, more complex flavor profile than other Sauvignon Blanc wines.
No matter which type of Sauvignon Blanc you are drinking, you will want to enjoy it chilled. Sauvignon Blancs are popular because they are high in acid which gives them that palate pleasing bite and makes them crisp and refreshing. But to ensure that each sip is crisp, we recommend our VoChill wine glass chillers. The last sip will be as refreshing as the first and you get to use your own glass with no ice or tumbler needed.
Top Producing Countries
Here are some of the countries that produce and consume the most Sauvignon Blanc wine:
- New Zealand: New Zealand is the largest producer of Sauvignon Blanc wine in the world. The Marlborough region on the South Island is particularly famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, which is known for its bright, tropical fruit flavors and high acidity.
- France: Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in France, particularly in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are two of the most famous Sauvignon Blanc appellations in France, and Bordeaux Blanc is a popular blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
- United States: Sauvignon Blanc is grown in many different regions of the United States, including California, Washington, and Oregon. California is the largest producer of Sauvignon Blanc in the country, and Fumé Blanc is a popular style that is aged in oak barrels.
- Australia: Sauvignon Blanc is a popular grape variety in Australia, particularly in the cooler regions of the country. The Adelaide Hills and Margaret River regions are known for producing high-quality Sauvignon Blanc wines.
- South Africa: Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in South Africa, and it is known for producing crisp, refreshing wines with flavors of citrus and green apple.
In terms of consumption, the United States is one of the largest markets for Sauvignon Blanc wine, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. However, Sauvignon Blanc is also enjoyed in many other countries around the world, and its popularity continues to grow.
A Deeper Look Into Types
If you’re looking for a little more description of the beforementioned common Sauvignon Blanc types, then keep reading.
Fumé Blanc is a style of wine made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes that are fermented and aged in oak barrels. This technique was popularized in the 1960s by California winemaker Robert Mondavi, who wanted to create a wine that had the crisp acidity and citrus flavors of Sauvignon Blanc, but also had the rich, complex flavors that come from oak aging.
The name "Fumé Blanc" is said to come from the French word "fumé," which means "smoky," and is a reference to the smoky flavors that can be imparted to the wine from the oak aging process. However, some producers prefer to simply use the name "Sauvignon Blanc" on their labels, even if the wine has been aged in oak.
Fumé Blanc wines are typically medium to full-bodied with a rich, creamy texture and flavors of vanilla, spice, and smoke in addition to the classic Sauvignon Blanc flavors of citrus and green apple. The oak aging can also give the wine a slightly golden color, and the wine may have a longer finish than a typical Sauvignon Blanc.
Fumé Blanc is often served chilled and pairs well with a variety of foods, including seafood, poultry, and pasta dishes with cream sauces. It is a popular choice for those who enjoy the crisp acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, but also appreciate the added complexity and richness that comes from oak aging.
Sancerre is a white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the Sancerre region of the Loire Valley in France. The wines are typically dry and crisp, with high acidity and a mineral-driven character that is unique to the region.
Sancerre wines are known for their aromas of citrus, green apple, and herbs, with some wines also exhibiting a flinty or smoky character. On the palate, Sancerre is typically medium-bodied with flavors of lemon, grapefruit, and a hint of grassiness. The high acidity of the wine makes it very refreshing and pairs well with a variety of foods, including seafood, poultry, and salads.
Sancerre wines are often fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve their bright fruit flavors and mineral character. Some producers may also age the wine in oak barrels, which can add a richer, more complex flavor profile to the wine.
Sancerre is best served chilled and is a great wine to enjoy on its own or paired with food. It is a popular choice for wine enthusiasts who appreciate its crisp acidity and unique mineral character, and it is often compared to other Sauvignon Blanc wines from around the world.
Pouilly-Fumé is a white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the Pouilly-sur-Loire region of the Loire Valley in France. The name "Fumé" comes from the French word for "smoky," which refers to the smoky or flinty aroma that is characteristic of the wines from this region.
Pouilly-Fumé wines are known for their crisp acidity and mineral-driven character, which is a result of the region's limestone-rich soils. The wines are typically medium-bodied with aromas of grapefruit, lemon, and green apple, as well as a distinct flinty or smoky note. On the palate, the wine has flavors of citrus and stone fruit, with a long, refreshing finish.
Pouilly-Fumé wines are often fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve their bright fruit flavors and mineral character. Some producers may also age the wine in oak barrels, which can add a richer, more complex flavor profile to the wine.
Pouilly-Fumé is best served chilled and pairs well with a variety of foods, including seafood, poultry, and salads. It is often compared to Sancerre, another Sauvignon Blanc-based wine from the Loire Valley, but is generally considered to be slightly fuller-bodied and more complex than Sancerre. Pouilly-Fumé is a popular choice for wine enthusiasts who appreciate its unique smoky character and crisp acidity, and it is often regarded as one of the world's great Sauvignon Blanc wines.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
While not a distinct type of Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc does seem to stand on its own in its intensity. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is known for its bright, intense fruit flavors and high acidity. These wines are typically made in a dry style and are known for their crisp, refreshing character. The Marlborough region, located on the South Island of New Zealand, is particularly famous for its Sauvignon Blanc wines.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is characterized by its aromas of tropical fruits such as passionfruit, guava, and pineapple, as well as notes of citrus, gooseberry, and freshly cut grass. On the palate, these wines are typically very crisp and lively, with high acidity and flavors of lime, grapefruit, and green apple. Some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines also have a hint of minerality, which adds to their complexity and depth.
The unique flavor profile of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is due in part to the country's climate and soil. The cool, maritime climate of Marlborough provides ideal growing conditions for the Sauvignon Blanc grape, allowing it to ripen slowly and develop complex flavors. The region's stony soils also contribute to the wine's character, adding minerality and freshness to the finished product.
Overall, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a refreshing and delicious wine that is enjoyed by wine lovers all over the world. Its bright fruit flavors and crisp acidity make it an excellent pairing with a variety of foods, including seafood, salads, and spicy dishes.
Bordeaux Blanc is a style of white wine that is made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes grown in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France. These two grape varieties are often blended together to create a wine that has a complex flavor profile, with bright citrus and tropical fruit notes from the Sauvignon Blanc and a rich, waxy character from the Semillon.
Bordeaux Blanc wines can vary in style depending on the blend and winemaking techniques used. Some wines may be more Sauvignon Blanc-dominated, with crisp acidity and pronounced citrus and herbaceous notes, while others may be more Semillon-dominated, with a richer, creamier texture and flavors of honey, beeswax, and white flowers. Oak aging can also play a role in the flavor profile of Bordeaux Blanc, with some wines aged in oak barrels to add complexity and depth.
In addition to Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, Bordeaux Blanc wines may also include small amounts of other white grape varieties such as Muscadelle, Sauvignon Gris, or Ugni Blanc. These grape varieties can add their own unique flavors and aromas to the blend, contributing to the wine's overall complexity and balance.
Bordeaux Blanc is a versatile wine that pairs well with a wide range of foods, including seafood, poultry, and salads. It is also a popular choice for summer drinking, as its crisp acidity and refreshing character make it an ideal choice for hot weather.
While Bordeaux Blanc may be less well-known than Bordeaux's famous red wines, it is an important part of the region's winemaking tradition and is highly regarded by wine enthusiasts around the world. Whether you're a fan of crisp and citrusy Sauvignon Blanc or a lover of rich and creamy Semillon, there's sure to be a Bordeaux Blanc out there that will appeal to your taste buds.
There are endless choices for fans of Sauvignon Blanc with many of the world's wine producing regions offering their unique tastes and types. Let’s all enjoy a little more of this wonderful grape! But remember to keep it chilled – and the best way is with VoChill.