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Sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon blanc is one of the world’s most noble and important white wine grapes. Depending on terroir and vinification, Sauvignon blanc wines can be drunk as an aperitif, with desserts, or as the ideal accompaniment to shellfish, fish and pasta. The variety has numerous synonyms: Blanc Fumé, Blanc Fumet, Fumé blanc, Muskat-Silvaner, Muskatny Silvanec and many more.
Sauvignon blanc is one of the most noble white wine grapes.

The intensely aromatic character of Sauvignon blanc wine

The Sauvignon blanc grape variety traces its origins to the Loire Valley and Bordeaux and to a crossing between Traminer and Chenin blanc. Its signature characteristic is an intense “green” aroma and a certain sharpness. Typical traits are nuances of gooseberry, blackcurrants and freshly cut grass. The wine’s good acidity structure and minerality also make it much admired. If the vine grows too fast, the grapes will not ripen fully. The resulting wine will then take on pungent vegetal and herbaceous notes.
The riper the Sauvignon blanc grapes are vinified, the more complex the fruit-driven base note becomes. It then almost reaches the quality of the finest fully matured Rieslings. When fermented or aged in wood – as in New Zealand, California or Australia – it can further age in the bottle for one or two years.
Sauvignon blanc is not only produced as a single-varietal, it is also commonly used in blends. Combining with Sémillon creates a cuvée with subtle honey notes.

Sauvignon blanc around the world

Globally, Sauvignon blanc is the second most important white wine grape. Its success story, which began as an accidental crossing and initially centred on western France, has chapters yet unwritten. More and more wine regions on all continents are attracted by the intense fresh personality and fine aromatic qualities of Sauvignon blanc. Plantings of the Sauvignon blanc grape variety have risen threefold within a very short space of time.

French Sauvignon blanc wines

The classic wines of this variety are to be found along the Loire, more specifically in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé – zingy, fresh white wines with a characteristic aroma and a smoky note. The flint soils here (known as silex soils) provide the ideal growing conditions. These dry single-varietal white wines are best drunk young. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are considered to be the best growing areas. Other highly recommended appellations can be found in Bordeaux, Touraine, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence.The pearls among the Sémillon blends include the Graves and Sauternes wines produced in the vineyards of Bordeaux. Sémillon is used as a blending grape here to smooth out the edges of Sauvignon. These Bordeaux wines are therefore more supple.

Italian Sauvignon blanc wines

In Italy the best Sauvignons are produced in the Friuli wine region in the northeast of the country. They are especially light and fruity and prove that Sauvignon blanc deserves to be classified as a noble grape variety. Among others, Italy’s top wines include the appellations (DOC) Carso, Collo di Parma and Friuli Aquileia.

Fumé blanc – Sauvignon blanc from California

In order to give this noble variety its own identity, winemakers in California market it under the name Fumé blanc. American Sauvignon blanc wines do have a distinctive character. At the beginning of the 1960s, winemaking pioneer Robert Mondavi began the practice of fermenting and maturing the wine in new oak barrels. The resulting wine was very successful and ageing in wood is still typical for Californian-style Sauvignons today. This acts to counterbalance what the wines lose in freshness due to the intense Californian sunshine. The wine is characterized by its mouth-filling, full-bodied expression accompanied by notes of wood, melon and peach.

Sauvignon blanc in New Zealand

New Zealand has produced excellent Sauvignons in a more fruity style since the 1990s. The ideal soils there impart a diversity of aromas. The cool climate is also beneficial. It slows down the ripening process and creates a better balance between acidity and sugar. The result is powerful top-class wines that are in part also responsible for the emergence of New Zealand as an acclaimed producer of dry white wines. Despite a relatively short winemaking tradition, the regions of Marlborough, Martinsborough, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay have become firmly established on the international Sauvignon blanc winegrowing map.

Sauvignon blanc in German wine regions

With around 850 hectares, German plantings are relatively small. Nevertheless, several German Sauvignon blancs have been rated very highly at international wine tastings. This may well encourage other winemakers to try their hand too. German plantings are concentrated on the Palatinate, Rheinhessen and Baden. Sauvignon blanc vines can also sometimes be found on the terraces of the Rheingau and Moselle regions.

Swiss Sauvignon blanc

Besides Sauvignon blanc, Switzerland also grows numerous other grape varieties and it is very unlikely that the Chasselas grape variety will be knocked off the top spot here. Nevertheless, some winemakers in growing areas in the cantons of Geneva, Valais and Ticino have been taken with it and are achieving good results.Sauvignon blanc is also cultivated in South Africa, Chile and Australia. Discover the many facets of this fascinating wine at Mondovino’s online shop or in our Coop stores.
Aroma
fruity, intense, “green”
Bouquet
gooseberries, blackcurrants, freshly cut grass
Acidity
balanced acidity