SAUVIGNON BLANC

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PLACE OF ORIGIN

Loire Valley

(Probable)

GROWING CLIMATES

Cool

Moderate

COMMON SYNONYMS

Blanc Fumé (Pouilly)

Fumé Blanc (California)

Sauvignon (Italy)

PARENTAGE

Savagnin x ?

 

OFFSPRING

Cabernet Sauvignon

SIBLINGS

Trousseau

Chenin Blanc

PREFERRED SOIL

Gravel

Limestone

Silex

IN THE VINEYARD

Budding

Early to Mid Ripening

Vigorous

 

 

SUSCEPTIBILITY

Botrytis

Eutypa Dieback

Powdery Mildew

Photo Courtesy of Wine Grapes Direct

OLD WORLD SAUVIGNON BLANC WINES

Old World wines are typically labeled by location rather than by the grape variety. The following regions are known for Sauvignon Blanc.

SANCERRE

Sancerre, a region in the Loire Valley, along with Pouilly-Fumé are known for unoaked, crisp, mouthwatering, and refreshing styles of 100% Sauvignon Blanc. 

BORDEAUX

White Bordeaux is commonly a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Styles labeled Bordeaux AOC and  Entre-Deux-Mers are light and crisp where as styles from Graves and Pessac Léognan are typically oak aged and complex.

SAUVIGNON BLANC STYLES

Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic white grape variety that is commonly produced in two different styles, oaked and unoaked. This grape variety is susceptible to noble rot and can also make luscious dessert wines. See below for a breakdown of the grape variety by climate.

SWEET STYLES

Dessert wines from Sauvignon Blanc are commonly produced in Napa Valley, California and Sauternes, Bordeaux when vintages allow for the growth of noble rot. This concentrates the acids and sugars and imparts flavors of chamomile, ginger, honey, marmalade, and saffron. Wines are typically blends including Semillon and Muscadelle, however, single varietal bottlings are produced.

COOL CLIMATE

Sauvignon Blanc grown in a cool climate typically exhibit these characteristics: 

FLAVORS

GRAPEFRUIT

GREEN APPLE

BELL PEPPER

GOOSEBERRY

STRUCTURE

 

BODY/TEXTURE

Light/Lean

ACIDITY

High

ALCOHOL

Low to Moderate

MAJOR REGIONS

 

POUILLY-FUME

SANCERRE

MARLBOROUGH

CASABLANCA VALLEY

ADELAIDE HILLS

MODERATE CLIMATE

Sauvignon Blanc grown in a moderate climate typically exhibit these characteristics:

FLAVORS

GRAPEFRUIT

PEACH

GRASS

PASSION FRUIT

STRUCTURE

 

 

BODY

Moderate to Full

 

TEXTURE

Round

ACIDITY

Elevated

ALCOHOL

Elevated

MAJOR REGIONS

BORDEAUX

COLUMBIA VALLEY

NAPA VALLEY

SONOMA

CONSTANTIA

ELGIN

MARGARET RIVER

HAWKE'S BAY

CENTRAL VALLEY

COMMON WINEMAKING TECHNIQUES (A-Z)

 

NEW OAK CONTACT:

Often in the form of a barrel, however, oak chips may be used to recreate the effect of using barrels in a fraction of the time and cost. This contact can occur during fermentation and/or aging. The higher the char on the oak, the more flavor imparted into the wine. These flavors often consist of smoke, vanilla, baking spices, butterscotch, roasted nuts, and more.

MALOLACTIC CONVERSION:

Commonly known as "malo", this process converts tart, malic acid into round, lactic acid by way of a bacteria known as oenococcus oeni. This bacterial conversion occurs after alcoholic fermentation and adds secondary flavors to the wine such as butter, cream, yogurt, and other dairy notes. Along with flavors the process creates a round, creamy texture in the final wine.

BÂTONNAGE:

Also known as "lees stirring", this process utilizes the yeast used for fermentation to add body, texture, and secondary flavors to the final wine. Once the yeast has finalized fermentation, the cells begin to break down in a process known as autolysis. To increase contact with wine, the broken down yeast cells (lees), are often stirred with a wand to impart more body and flavors of biscuits, bread, and more. 

ACIDIFICATION:

Common in warm climates to create a more balanced wine. This is conducted by adding acid (typically tartaric or malic acid) during winemaking to lower the pH of the wine, creating a final wine with higher acidity. This is a controversial technique that is prohibited in many regions.

IMPORTANT SAUVIGNON BLANC CLONES (A-Z)

CLONE 108:

An aromatic clone originating from and widely planted in Bordeaux.

CLONE 242:

French origin. Also known as FPS 20.

CLONE 297:

French origin. Also known as FPS 31.

CLONE 316:

Smaller clusters and low yielding. Considered widely popular for plantings in France. Originated from Bordeaux. Also known as FPS 14.

SAUVIGNON MUSQUÉ:

A floral and musky aromatic clone with less vegetal notes. Sourced from the Viticoles d’Arboriculture Fruitiere, a viticulture station at Pont-de-la-Maye in the Bordeaux region of France in 1962. Was thought to be its own grape variety for until 1999 after a study conducted by Dr. Carole Meredith at UC Davis determining it was a clone. Also known as FPS 27

WENTE CLONE:

Larger clusters and high yielding. Originally planted in a Wente Vineyard in Livermore in 1884 with cuttings from Chateau d'Yquem. Widely planted throughout California. Also known as FPS 01