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The Sauvignon Blanc Grape


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About Sauvignon Blanc

(Synonyms: Blanc Fumé, Blanc Fumet, Fié Fiers, Fumé, Fumé Blanc, Muskat-Silvaner, MuŠkatani Silvanec, Sauternes, Sauvignon Fumé, Sauvignon Musqué, Sauvignon Blanc Musqué, Savagnou, Sotern Mărunt, Surin, Verdo Belîi)

Background

Map showing the Bordeaux region of France.

Sauvignon Blanc is a white-wine grape originating in the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions of France, where it remains a mainstay type. It is widely considered one of the dozen and a half or so “Noble wine grapes” of the world, and indeed was one of the original three white-wine grapes so designated. It is today grown world-wide, with New World SB wines of note coming from New Zealand (especially), California, Australia, Chile, and Washington State.

Map showing the Loire Valley region of France.

Sauvignon Blanc has a strong and distinctive varietal aroma and taste, particularly in New Zealand’s renditions. That quality is variously described as “herbal”, “smoky” (SBs are sometimes called “Fumé blanc”), “grassy”, and sometimes even—and favorably!—“pipi de chat” (cat pee); obviously, the quality is hard to describe—but once encountered is never forgotten.

The taste can be much affected by the climate: in cool climates, the wines tend to be sharply acidic, with the characteristic SB qualities foremost, backed by some notes of fruit and flower; in warm climates, the fruit comes more forward but the defining SB qualities correspondingly recede, tending to leave wines that are mildly pleasant but rather characterless. The best specimens are generally felt to be those from France’s Loire Valley and from New Zealand. In most regions, it is bottled as a monovarietal, but in Bordeaux it is typically blended with Semillon to make regionally named wines.

It is not a wine that benefits much from aging, and indeed will typically deteriorate if not drunk young, though there are exceptions to that rule of thumb (typically those aged on oak before bottling).

Sauvignon Blanc is also used in dessert wines (notably Sauternes and Barsac), with which we are not concerned here.

Factoid: Sauvignon Blanc may or may not be descended from the Savignan grape, but the two are quite distinct today in qualities, despite which Savignan (and Sauvignon Gris, yet another distinct varietal) are often confounded.

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Some Descriptions of Sauvignon Blanc Wines

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Some Sauvignon Blancs to Try

(About this list.)

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc
(This is not their “Section 94” bottling.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Laberinto Sauvignon Blanc

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc
(This is their basic SB, not their “Wild”, listed below as a “splurge”.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Astrolabe Wines Sauvignon Blanc
(This is their basic SB, not any of their numerous—10 or so— named SBs.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Errazuriz “Max” Reserva Sauvignon Blanc

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

Our nomination is the Greywacke “Wild” Sauvignon Blanc.

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.