food and beverage underground

By Jack Larkin

What's the Story of Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a green grape variety which originating from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape gets it name from the French word sauvage ("wild") and blanc ("white") due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in western France. Today it is now planted in many parts of the world's wine regions. It produces a crisp, dry, and refreshing varietal wine. Depending on climate, sauvignon blanc flavors range from very grassy to sweetly tropical. Wine experts often refer to the flavors as "cat's pee on a gooseberry bush" as a nice description of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley and New Zealand.

Sauvignon Blanc Smell and/or Flavor Elements:

Varietal Aromas/Flavors:Processing Bouquets/Flavors:
Herbaceous: grass, weeds, lemon-grass, gooseberryvanilla, sweet wood
Vegetal: bell pepper, green olive, asparagus, capsicum butter, cream
Fruity: grapefruit, lime, melonoak, smoke, toast
Aggressive: mineral, "catbox"Flint

Sauvignon Blanc was one of the first fine wines to be bottled with a screwcap in commercial quantities, especially by New Zealand producers and subsequently the Californians. California is now one of the leading producers in volume of Sauvignon Blanc. The styles vary throughout the state, but generally speaking the wines produced no longer have the severe grassy and/or herbaceous character they had several years ago. Stylistically the wine now is much rounder, more tropical, and much friendlier than in the past. While the taste profile of Sauvignon Blanc has improved dramatically it still has retained its acidic backbone. This acidity makes the wine exceptional with all types of food (especially spicy/asian cuisine), but it is generally overlooked in food pairings for its more popular white counterpart, Chardonnay.

The Sauvignon Blanc vine grows very aggressively, and in the past it wasnÂ’t tended to as meticulously as it is now. Throughout the growing season most growers pull Sauvignon Blanc leaves off the vines to thin them of their large canopy. This results in more sun exposure to the grapes, which in turn results in riper and richer wines.

California and Washington State have experienced a shortage in Sauvignon Blanc grapes the last 5 or 6 years. The shortage is a result of 2 main factors: 1) The popularity of the varietal, and 2) When Merlot became popular in the 1980s a lot of growers ripped up their Sauvignon Blanc vines to plant Merlot and make more money from their land.

From Sauvignon Blanc to Unoaked Chardonnay

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