Sauvignon Blanc. It’s one of the best-known white wine varieties to hear when discussing wine, and generally, the first one people will name after saying “I like white wine.” But liking white wine is like liking ice cream. Yes, you may like ice cream, but not be not a huge fan of the butter pecan flavour. Wine is the same; the varieties of wine don’t end at red, white, and rosé.
Origins & Production of Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc originated in France, in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley around the 18th century. The grape prefers temperate climates like California, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s actually a very hearty grape and you’d be surprised just how many places it grows. Despite the warmer climates in these regions, Sauvignon Blanc is reasonably rugged and planted widely here in Canada as well.
France produces the most Sauvignon Blanc, followed by New Zealand and Chile. Italy and the United States are also hot on the Sauvignon Blanc scene. They produce an impressive variety and amount of this varietal, as well as exciting blends.
Taste: Sauvignon Blanc On the Tongue
As far as white wines go, Sauvignon Blanc is almost neutral. It’s on the acidic side and is often low in sugar (barely any hangover!) Most Sauvignon Blanc is dry (that’s what it’s called when it’s low in sugar), but some wineries add sugar to make the taste richer and sweeter.
It is made from a green-skinned grape variety, and the ripeness of the fruit when picked impacts the end flavour of the wine. The riper the fruit is when it’s picked the fruitier and sweeter it will taste. In this case, the fruit flavours found in the wine tend to be peach, lime, green apples, or passion fruit. The zesty lime flavours are found in the less ripe grapes while peach is found in the riper grapes. The wine can also taste herbaceous, meaning it has a somewhat herb-like taste or may even taste like grass.
There are different outcomes when making Sauvignon Blanc that are impacted by the winemaker. Some examples of the winemaker’s influence are: if residual sugar is added, how long the juice is in contact with the grape skins, and if it is aged in oak, stainless steel, or something more wild. These actions affect how sweet or acidic the wine is or isn’t, and if we will get any oak-imparted flavours in the final product.
The taste of one Sauvignon Blanc to another can differ greatly. If you’ve tried one and didn’t like it, don’t give up on the entire variety. Try another glass from a different winery, a region, or a sweetness rating and notice how different it can taste.