What is Sauvignon Blanc and where is it found?
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most popular white varieties with its origins in Bordeaux where it was crossed with Cabernet Franc in the eighteenth century and produced Cabernet Sauvignon.
It has been a staple in the Loire valley too for centuries where it forms the backbone of famous appellations like Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre, producing wonderfully refreshing, zesty white wines with notes of gun flint . It has also expanded to the New World, particularly countries like New Zealand where it is the most cultivated grape variety.
In many parts of Spain, the climate is a little too hot for Sauvignon Blanc to grow in large quantities. But you can find it used quite extensively in DO Rueda.
Sauvignon Blanc’s main characteristics
Sauvignon Blanc is a very vigorous grape variety, which means that left by itself it would produce a mass of foliage and not much fruit, so the winemaker needs to exercise a good deal of skill and judgement to get the best out of the plant. It flowers early and ripens relatively late, producing small clusters of grapes which can be vulnerable to powdery mildew of botrytis (aka Noble Rot; a fungus which attacks white wine grapes and which, given the right climatic conditions, can produce wonderful sweet wines).
What does Sauvignon Blanc taste like?
Sauvignon Blanc is a very fresh, aromatic variety with highly distinctive, instantly recognizable aromas, variously described as grassy, herbaceous, cassis leaf or tomcat!
It's profile varies depending on where it's grown. In cooler growing conditions it will produce fresher wines reminiscent of freshly cut grass, nettles, gooseberries or asparagus, while in warmer climates the wines take on more tropical notes of grapefruit, mango or passion fruit.
Where can I try some Sauvignon Blanc?
Spanish examples of Sauvignon Blanc are not that common. But as we said earlier, you can find it in DO Rueda, where our friends Alicia and Vidal from Bodegas Vidal Soblechero produce some great single varietal wines made just from Sauvignon Blanc.