One of the fasting growing varietal and popular in the last 10 years has great history and a wide variety of styles. Here are 5 Fast Facts for Sauvignon Blanc. Check out our Sauvignon Selection Here.
- The Wild Bunch. Sauvignon Blanc takes its name from the French words sauvage, meaning “wild”, and blanc, or “white”—an accurate description of the white grape’s penchant for unbridled, enthusiastic growth. It is often conflated with Fume Blanc, which is a marketing term coined by Robert Mondavi to rebrand the varietal for the American audience.
- There’s a Sauvignon Blanc for everyone! Noted for its crisp flavor and high acidity, other characteristics of this wine vary according to region and winemaking process. The Loire Sauvignon Blancs are known for their chalkiness; while New Zealand’s Marlborough wines reflect the cooler climate with notes of passion fruit and mango. Cooler fermentation leads to more fruity wines; while warmer fermentation promotes minerality and grassiness.
- France leads the world in Sauvignon Blanc production with 30,000 hectares, primarily in the Loire and Bordeaux regions. It is closely followed by New Zealand with 25,000 hectares. Given that New Zealand only introduced the varietal in 1968 (from a UC Davis clone) this is meteoric growth, indeed. It is also grown in South Africa, Chile, California and Oregon.
- Sauvignon Blanc is a blender. It is often paired with Sémillon to make White Bordeaux and Sauternes, a sweet delicate white wine that owes its unique characteristics to a fungus called Botrytis cinerea, or “noble rot”. Most recently through DNA analysis, it was discovered to have spontaneously crossed with Cabernet Franc in the mid 1700’s to produce Cabernet Sauvignon—the world’s most popular grape.
1. Thomas Jefferson was a fan. As Ambassador to France, he encouraged George Washington to stock his cellars with the 1787 Château d'Yquem Sauternes. This noted chateau is also the origin of American Sauvignon Blanc. In 1882, cuttings of Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle from Château d'Yquem were introduced to a vineyard in Livermore, California that is now part of Wente Vineyards.
Patty Lyn Tweten is a writer, graphic designer and Pinot Noir vineyard owner. Working exclusively in the wine industry, her writing inspiration comes from visual design work and her own front yard. Website Facebook Instagram Linkedin