Sauvignon Blanc

Summer and seafood are perfect companions to Sauvignon Blanc. This is a bright, crisp, acidic wine that is always refreshing during the hot days of summer. Sauvignon Blanc started in France (as most grapes do) and has made its way to many wine growing regions around the world. 

   

Bordeaux region of France

This grape started in the Bordeaux region of France, but was historically blended with the Semillon grape to produce a desert wine. The Loire Valley in France is where the grape was kept true to form to produce the popular Sauvignon Blanc – single varietal wine. To find this wine from France, you’ll have to look for it under the names: Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé.

  

California

In California, Robert Mondavi aged the Sauvignon Blanc in oak to balance out the fruit forward profile. He called it Fumé Blanc which is a label you may see on California wines from time to time. However, Sauvignon Blanc very rarely matures in oak.

   

Cool and Warm Climate Differences

The differences you’ll see in Sauvignon Blanc depend on the climate it comes from. Cooler Climates like France, Chile, New Zealand produce a wine with higher acidity, green pepper, grass, and tropical fruit.

In the warmer climates like California and Australia, you’ll experience lower aromatics, lower acidity, and more fruit forward flavors like grapefruit and peach.

  

Regions

Sauvignon Blanc is grown in many wine regions around the world. Here are the top regions we’ll focus on.

  • Loire Valley, France
  • California
  • New Zealand

  

Recommendations

Pick up a wine from each region and taste them side-by-side. Remember, if you can’t find these selections, just look for a Sauvignon Blanc from these regions with a decent rating (80 and above) and at your price point.

  

Chateau Favray Pouilly Fume a French sauvignon blanc | commongrape.com

France
Chateau Favray 2014 Pouilly-Fumé
Vintage:  2014
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation:  Loire Valley
Winery: Chateau Favray
Rating:  90pts Wine Enthusiast
Avg Price: $19

   

   

Tortoise Creek - Sauvignon Blanc - California | commongrape.com

California
Tortoise Creek “Cuvee Jean” Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Vintage: 2016
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Central Coast
Winery: Tortoise Creek
Rating: 88pts Wine Enthusiast
Avg price: $13

   

   

Kim Crawford - Sauvignon Blanc - Australia | commongrape.com

New Zealand
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Vintage: 2017
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Marlborough
Winery: Kim Crawford
Rating: 86pts Wine Enthusiast
Avg Price: $18

Tasting Notes

Now that you have your Sauvignon Blanc, it’s time to taste!

Just follow these three steps to become familiar with Sauvignon Blanc from each region. You can even have some of the cheese pairing suggestions on hand to see how they work together.

See

Take your glass and tilt it over a white napkin or paper at a 45-degree angle. Compare the color across all regions. They should be a pale straw color. Some may have hints of green.

TASTING PROFILE:  Pale straw with hints of green.

Sniff

Let’s see how aromatic Sauvignon Blanc is. Hold your glass at your chest and see if you can catch any scent. Then move it to your chin and try to smell. Then really put your nose in the glass and take a big sniff. What scents do you catch? Swirl the wine and then sniff again. What scents do you catch now?

TASTING PROFILE:  This is an aromatic grape that you should be able to smell at your chest or chin. Scents include tropical fruit, citrus, herbs.

Taste

Take a taste and swirl it in your mouth. What flavors do you taste? After you swallow, how long does the flavor linger and how would you describe those flavors?

TASTING PROFILE:

Fruit:  Tropical fruit, peach, grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon, lime.

Acidity:  Medium to high levels from cool climates. Medium levels from warmer climates. (This is tartness in the wine and hits underneath the back of your tongue and throat.)

Tannin:  No tannin. (This is bitterness that comes from the grape skins.)

Oak:  Rarely matures in oak. Warmer climate Sauvignon Blanc may mature in oak to round out fruit forward flavors. Wine labeled with Fumé Blanc is matured in oak.

Body:  Medium body. (This is how heavy or full the wine is. Think water vs. milk.)

  

Easy Rating System

After you taste each wine, give it a rating using this easy rating system. Add notes to help remember what you liked or didn’t like about the wine.

5pts   Love!
4pts   Like
3pts   Good, but not great
2pts   Meh
1pt     Not for me

  

Pairing

Sauvignon Blanc is a great refreshing wine, especially on a hot, sunny day. It pairs well with fish, shellfish, and white meat.

   

Meat and Vegetable Pairings:
  • Seafood (white fish, shrimp, lobster, scallops, oysters)
  • White meat (chicken, pork)
  • Green vegetables (asparagus, artichokes, salads)

   

Cheese pairings:
  • Asiago
  • Camembert
  • Colby
  • Fete
  • Goat
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Monterey Jack
  • Provolone
  • Roquefort
  • Sharp Cheddar

   

Congrats! You’ve decoded Sauvignon Blanc. Share your accomplishment with your friends!

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