Where did Sauvignon Blanc originate from? What are the best places to grow the grapes? Find out the answers to these questions in this post.
What is Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is a famous wine in the USA and is commonly known as grassy wine. Due to a high acid concentration of the wine and low sugar levels, the drink offers a refreshing crispness which is hard to find in typical wines. Its origin can be traced back to Bordeaux, a region in France which is also home to two famous US wines- Merlo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sauvignon Blanc is a French derivative of the word ‘sauvage’ (wild). The grapes used to grow uncontrollably like weeds throughout Bordeaux. Rather than macerating and packaging the wine on its own, the winemakers used to use it for white blends and making of Sauterne, a type of dessert wine. Sauvignon Blanc has traveled all over the world and found other champions in 4 places that have completely reinvented the wine as we shall discuss herein.
The best way to describe Sauvignon Blanc is a classic grape as opposed to a cool grape. It has seen decades of universality. It actually takes the third position in the most popular white wines in the US. You can find it anywhere: scented candles, romance novels, restaurants, and grocery stores. Its flavor profile is quite strong- dry, acidic, fruity, and most importantly, familiar. If you have taken the modern white wines in the US, then you have probably tasted Sauvignon Blanc grape. The pervasiveness of the wine is especially loved by the millennials who are always up to discovery.
Austria is famous for Riesling or Gruner Veltliner. However, the southern part of the country- Styria- has been a home for Sauvignon Blanc since hundreds of years ago. The grape was introduced in the early 1800s by Johann Archduke. For decades, it was grown and experimented with but it is the region’s signature today. The conditions that make Styria the best place to grow the grape include sharp slopes, warm-humid climate, and diverse soils. The fresh, acid-concentrated, and aromatic drink has won over Chardonnay enthusiasts. The best varieties of Sauvignon Blanc have long-lasting and complex flavors that stand up to the greatest wines on earth. Even though Styrian Sauvignon Blanc carries qualities of the grapes from New Zealand and France, we cannot say that it is a happy in-between. It is bolder with faded green notes while the texture is elegant and silky. For this reason, American wine lovers are dipping their toes into a wealth of what this wine from Styria has to offer. We anticipate many more discoveries. The US consumers love the excitement that modern wines bring. They try to classify varietals simultaneously into reliable prototypes. It is always comforting to reach a crisp and refreshing flavor.
The Sauvignon Blanc from this region may be described as lean and edge. Saint-Bris is located in the southwest of Chablis. It has a cool climate and its soil is very rich in limestone. This place has produced Sauvignon Blanc since mid 20th Century. But today’s production is a little smaller (about 2% of all vineyards in Chablis). Most top producers are the same Chablis wine merchants from bigger corporations or the artisanal growers. Chablis is distinguished from other Burgundy regions by mineral-driven austerity. Saint-Bris generates linear and cutting-edge versions of Sauvignon Blanc. The scents are highly toned and fresh, not to mention the strong acidity that not even the greatest acid hound can resist. If you love Muscadet, Sancerre, and Chablis for oyster pairing, you can find the best qualities of the three from Saint-Bris Sauvignon Blanc.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
This region gives a fruity Sauvignon Blanc with poise. While the area is best known for other varieties such as Shioppettino and Friulano, it is superlative when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc. Certain Friulian Merlots cost between 200 and 300 dollars. Bear in mind Friuli-Venezia Giulia is among the most trusted sources of white wine. No wonder, it produces the finest expressions of Sauvignon in the country. Friulian Sauvignon Blanc is all contrasts. Thanks to sufficient sunshine, the grapes are highly concentrated and fuller. Their acidity and coolness can be attributed to the nighttime climate and Ponca soils. Basically, the wine can be steel-aged, oak-aged, varietal, or blended. It tends to be more fruit forward, less green, and broad, with a mouthwatering mineral accent. You cannot resist the eye-opening acidity of Friulian Sauvignon Blanc.
Marlborough, New Zealand
It is in New Zealand, that the grape’s name became known worldwide. Very few people knew the name of the wine in the 80s even though they had drunk it. By the time New Zealand wines hit international marketplaces, the entire world took notice of Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough region is found in the Southern Island. A bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand costs anywhere between $5 and $30. While the wine has a substantial amount of acid, it is still fuller-bodied. Its hefty aromas will pass gently through your mouth, leaving citrus notes of lemon and tropical pineapple flavors. It is more of tropical flavors with a lingering acidity.
Basically, Sauvignon Blanc can grow in almost any region of the world. There are other significant places that haven’t been mentioned here like South Africa, Chile, Napa, and Sancerre. In Sancerre, France, for instance, Sauvignon Blanc was grown to make a drink for which the grape was the sole ingredient. And this wine got the name Sancerre instead of Sauvignon Blanc to signify its birthplace. Sancerre was incredibly famous in Paris as it paired well with food and was still great without food. It was easy to drink and the public receives it well.
The rest of the regions also produce lively and refreshing qualities. The best thing you can do is to pick the bottle that strikes your interest wherever you are. As long as you love it, take the descriptions and seek another bottle within your range of preference. Most importantly, have fun with your friends and family. Sauvignon Blanc is designed to be a wild beverage and a summer star. If you have an upcoming event, check out the different varieties on the market and get a sense of how diverse this grape can be.