Sauvignon Blanc: Fresh, Versatile and Refreshing!
Crisp, tangy, often with flavors of hay, grass, and green herbs, sometimes developing tropical notes, Sauvignon Blanc is a classy, delicious white and it is a favorite wine of mine in warm weather. The grape most likely gets its name from the French words sauvage ("wild") and blanc ("white") due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France.
Thought to be originally from the Bordeaux region of France, it has adapted wonderfully well to many wine regions. New Zealand is best known for Sauvignon Blanc. The grape was first introduced to New Zealand in the 1970s as an experimental planting and now many people feel that New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc is best in the world. Chile, South Africa and California all produce great versions of this lovely wine. It loves cooler climates that let it hang out a long time and fully develop its perfume, but it also does well in warmer climates where it can develop tropical fruit and apple notes.
Some Facts About Sauvignon Blanc
It’s very easy to match to food.: Just remember that it pairs beautifully with anything you would squeeze lemon on. Cold seafood platter? Check. Grilled Halibut or Talapia? Check. Roast vegetables? Check. It also is terrific with Gruyere or ripe chevre cheese and anything garlicky.
It has a romantic past. At some point in the 18th century, the Sauvignon Blanc vine, in some sunny vineyard in France, met up with Cabernet Franc. The two crossed and it was…well…magic: they created Cabernet Sauvignon.
California Start. First planted in the Livermore Valley in the 19th century. Across the state, there are nearly 15,000 acres devoted to it, which makes it the fourth-most planted white after Chardonnay, Colombard (primarily used for bulk white-wine blends or distillation) and Pinot Gris./Grigio.
It has an alias. Fumé Blanc –coined in California in the 1960s and popularized by Robert Mondavi. Fumé Blanc is Sauvignon Blanc. Sometimes it is aged in oak, giving it smoky notes (fumé means smoke), but it is not required that it be aged in oak.
It has a French best friend. In France, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Sémillion: White Bordeaux. Many of the Sauvignon Blancs produced in California also have Sémillion blended in with them.
It has a wild side. It requires a lot of hands-on vineyard work to keep this vigorous vine from growing out of control, as mentioned above “sauvignon” means “wild”.
Cheers to this wild, crisp, versatile and delicious white!