Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day!
And not a moment too soon! The sun is out, the weather is warm, and it’s the perfect time for a bright, mouthwatering Sauvignon Blanc to quench your thirst!
In celebration of this day, we here at French Corner Cellars would like to give a brief history of what is now one of the most popular grape varieties on Earth!
Like many other international grape varieties, Sauvignon Blanc has it’s roots in France, in this case the western Regions of Bordeaux and Loire Valley. That was of course a long time ago, and now the grape can be found all across the globe, from the US and Chile in the Americas to New Zealand. According to Pulliat classification, Sauvignon Blanc ripens 2 ½ weeks after grapes such as Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, and Riesling. In France alone, twenty Sauvignon Blanc clones (out of a potential 400) are certified by the INRA (French National Institute for Agriculture Research).
The variation of growing region has given Sauvignon Blanc a wide range of styles and flavor profiles. Cooler climates tend to give the grape bright acidity, ‘green’ notes of grassiness, green bell pepper, etc., as well as hints of tropical fruit and floral notes. Warmer climates can produce wines with lower acidity, more broad tropical fruit notes, and nice peachy flavors. None of this is carved in stone however, in modern times, the influence of wine making trends and one style upon another has given the world such a wonderful spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc wines, that we are constantly surprised at what comes out of a region (ie. Californian wines with the structure of cool climate France).
Sauvignon Blanc wine making is widely associated with tank aging, with no malolactic fermentation - this preserve the wines freshness and flavor profiles. As for Riesling, some innovative winemakers have started to use oak aging with some success.
In the US, Sauvignon Blanc is the 5th most consumed varietal. Before fine wine found widespread popularity, it was often referred to as Fume Blanc, to try to distance itself from the poorly-made, sweet labels produced. It now grows in an increasing number of Californian AVA such as Santa Ynez, Livermore and now cooler areas of the Napa Valley.
Certain labels (as rare as they are) can sit for up to 15+ years with proper aging (especially Loire Valley wines of a higher quality). As experts in wine temperature, we recommend your Sauvignon Blanc be drank between 44℉-47℉. As for any other wines with higher acidity (or sweetness) it is recommended to serve the wine cold - not beer cold, that's too cold! The lower temperature will reduce the feeling of tartness while keeping the aromas and flavors alive.
So go forth and enjoy yourselves, and do not forget to seek out some fun new labels, life is too short to drink the same wine over and over!