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Sauvignon Blanc is Not Only a French Affair

Sauvignon Blanc is Not Only a French Affair

From the Loire Valley in France to the rest of the world: discover the best Sauvignon Blanc vineyards and how this grape variety reflects every specific terroir

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Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular grape varieties. While Bordeaux and the Loire Valley are perhaps the most well-known regions for Sauvignon Blanc, nowadays this particular grape variety is cultivated all over the world.

It’s no surprise that this grape has become a bit of a fan favorite for wine lovers. Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile grape variety that has strong varietal character. Also, a well-made Sauvignon Blanc can also reflect terroir exceptionally well.

Wines made of Sauvignon Blanc are often like an explosive fruit basket that blows up when you whirl a glass. You can find everything from grassy herbaceous and lemony notes to ripe peach and passion fruit. Sauvignon Blanc can often be quite expressive which makes it fairly easy to recognize but like a mythical shape-shifter, it can sometimes really catch you off guard and surprise with its austere deliciousness.

The Importance of Soil

The Loire Valley - the appellations Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre in particular - is what many consider to be the best wine region for Sauvignon Blanc. Although there is only the Loire river dividing Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, each of these appellations has their unique microclimates and soils which therefore makes the wines quite different from each other.

“In Sancerre, we have more vineyards on hillsides facing the sun in a way that the level of ripeness is always a bit higher than Pouilly-Fumé,” says Arnaud Bourgeois, the general director of Henri Bourgeois, whose family has been making wine since the late 1600’s. “Pouilly-Fumé is closer to the Loire river which means we have a bigger acidity, analytically, that is very well enveloped in the body of the wine. In short, Pouilly-Fumé usually has this ‘freshness attack’ in the mouth, and it’s a bit sharper. Sancerre is a bit more full-bodied and rounder, even though they are both dry wines. Otherwise, aromatically they are very similar because we have the same soil in both appellations: limestone, clay, and Kimmeridgian marl.”

The rise of New Zealand's Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is not only France’s thing, oh no. Today, you can find many places producing exceptional wines from Sauvignon Blanc like Austria, South Africa and Chile, but nothing quite compares to New Zealand. Although the history of wine in New Zealand is relatively young, it feels like they have been making wine for centuries. It didn’t take long for the well-structured and powerfully fruity Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand to conquer the world.

Sauvignon Blanc continues to amaze both wine enthusiasts and professionals alike. If you are unfamiliar with this grape variety, I strongly suggest you pour yourself a glass, or two, and dive right in.

The Best Sauvignon Blanc Pairings

Here is a handful of tasty Sauvignon Blancs to get you acquainted.

  • Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Le MD de Bourgeois 
    An excellent example of Bourgeois’ impressive repertoire of Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh and savory with plenty of ripe lime and herbal notes. Pair this with a big plate of seafood and enjoy.
     
  • Klein Constantia Metis Sauvignon Blanc 
    Enticing and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc from one of South Africa’s famed estates. The subtle herbaceous nettle tones play well with the combination of melon and crunchy lemon. Yum!
     
  • Terlano Winkl Sauvignon Blanc 
    Gooseberry, gooseberry for days! Prepare yourself for some serious berry action with a bucketful of green herbs, lemon, and a peppery finish. A tasty white from Italy's Alto Adige. If you got some sushi nearby, consider yourself lucky.
     
  • Von Winning Sauvignon Blanc II 
    The name says it all; you can’t lose with this wine. This German Sauvignon Blanc has a lovely grapefruit-meets-mango thing going on together with mouthwatering acidity. A great combination with delicate seafood dishes.
     
  • Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 
    Lime, gooseberry, nettle; this wine has it all. There is a certain kind of vivacity in this wine that is quite appealing. Vibrant fruit with a fresh and slightly spicy finish. A solid all-around Sauvignon Blanc.
     

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