One of the most refreshing and vibrant white wines, Sauvignon Blanc's signature aromas include freshly mown grass, lemon-grass, gooseberry, green bell pepper, green melon, grapefruit, canned peas, asparagus, lime, nettle, acacia, hawthorn and herbal notes.
Sauvignon Blanc vines are vigorous and growers must trim back leaf canopy so that the grapes get sufficient nutrients to ripen and develop their flavors. When under ripe, the grapes can have a cat litterbox aroma that writer Jancis Robinson famously referred to as "cat's pee on a gooseberry bush." Not attractive.
In the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc makes wines known as Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre, named after their respective towns and usually made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc and unoaked. Fumé refers to the smoky or flinty character Loire wines achieve from their marvelous minerality. In California, this wine is often labeled as Fumé Blanc, a play on the Loire name and a rebranding of the wine that hadn't been successful when introduced as Sauvignon Blanc.
My reviews of these Sauvignon Blanc white wines are updated weekly. These Sauvignon Blanc white wines offer great taste at a good price. You'll find a definition of Sauvignon Blanc wine at the bottom of this page as well as food pairings for Sauvignon Blanc in my wine matcher. This is just a small set of my reviews, but you can get all of them when you join my wine community.
Although barrel fermentation and oak aging aren't as common for Sauvignon Blanc as it is for Chardonnay, some producers do this to add some complexity, and others, unfortunately, to hide aggressive vegetal odors. Many people prefer the crisp, fresh fruit style and zesty attack of the unoaked style and its mouth-watering acidity. This is also why many people prefer to drink most of the dry styles in their youth up to about three years after the vintage.
Sauvignon Blanc is the leading white wine of New Zealand that Cloudy Bay winery made famous in the Marlborough region. South Africa also makes excellent, underpriced Sauvignon Blanc as does Rueda, Spain; Syria, Austria; Collio, Italy; and Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys in Chile.
Australia is generally too warm to maintain the wine's vibrant acidity.
Blending with Semillon adds richness and complexity, and creates the legendary dessert wine Château d'Yquem in the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France. There and in neighboring Barsac, the grapes are left to hang past the normal harvest period so that they are infected with the benevolent mold known as botrytis cinerea (noble rot) that concentrates their flavors. Semillon brings notes of figs and ripe tree fruit to the final wine.
In the Graves district of Bordeaux, the two grapes are blended to create world famous dry white wines.
Sauvignon Blanc is incredibly versatile with food. Try the dry style with bell peppers, cheeses, shellfish, Caesar salad, corned beef and cabbage, turkey pot pie, guacamole, sushi, pasta with cream-based sauce, pizza and grilled salmon.
Dessert styles go well with angel food cake, biscotti, bread pudding, cheesecake, and fruit-based desserts.
© 2014 by Natalie MacLean. All rights reserved.