Sauvignon Blanc is considered to be one of the top three wine grapes and is well known for its grassy herbal flavors. This old-world grape has done well all over the world and is grown internationally. It originated in the Loire Valley of France but has since moved on to the US, Australia, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, and Italy. Each location offers its own unique flavoring making each countries varietal a distinct tasting experience. This grape is frequently paired with other varieties to make blended white wines.
In the Loire Valley of France the grape produces a crisp grassy flavor with hints of minerals and an occasional smokey characteristic. The grape was first introduced to California in the 1870’s where it has become a vineyard staple and often described as having a citrus under taste. In the 1970 the vine was introduced to New Zealand to be blended with other varieties. In New Zealand it continues to produce a crisp acidic flavor but it also harbors aromas and flavors of grapefruit and passion fruit. The distinct flavor of the New Zealand variety led to an increase in popularity in the 1990’s. The wine is commonly produced in stainless steel vats which maintains the crisp acidity. Some areas also use oak which is said to have the advantage of decreasing the acidity, but at the same time it also tones down the citrus under taste commonly found in Californian varieties.
The ripeness level of these grapes affects the final flavor of the wine which is often used to the wine makers advantage. The berries are harvested in intervals at varying levels of ripeness which gives the wine a more complex and layered flavor. Fermentation temperature and duration of contact with the skins of the grapes also affect the characteristics of the end product.
It is an acidic wine with a crisp flavor and a light to medium yellow color with just a hint of green. It is often described as having undertones of lemons, asparagus or fig. This dry white wine makes an excellent pairing with seafood, cheese or just about any food that wants a sharp, clean flavor to compliment it. Try some Sauvignon Blanc with dinner tonight.