Sauvignon Blanc (so-veen-YAWN blahnk)
One of the most distinctive grapes, Sauvignon Blanc is a highly aromatic variety
that does well in both the old and new world. From the Loire
Valley of France to Marlborough
in New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc has found many regions that bring out its unique
and delicious flavors.
Sauvignon Blanc's home is the Loire Valley of France, where it produces the
crisp, grassy mineral-tinged wines of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume (not to be mistaken
with Pouilly Fuisse in Burgundy
- that would be Chardonnay). Wine of this region is crisp and grassy, with delicious minerality and an
occasional gun flint/smokey character. In the 1970's, New Zealand planted its first cuttings
of Sauvignon Blanc, which in turn brought the country to the forefront of the
wine world. In New Zealand, the variety exudes its typical crisp acidity, as
well as pungent passion fruit and grapefruit aromas and flavors. In
Sauvignon Blanc is produced both in stainless steel (like New Zealand and France)
and with a touch of oak. The wooded versions maintain the acidity of the grape
but tone down the intense citrus flavors with subtle oak characteristics. Winemakers
differ in their addition or choice of oak. The grape also produces delicious
wines from Chile and
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Loire Valley, New Zealand, California, Chile, Italy
Common Descriptors: grass, lemon, grapefruit, passion fruit.
Learn More About Bordeaux, France
A few extra appellations:
Bourg & Blaye
These two appellations are just across the Gironde river from the Haut-Medoc – a bit northwest of St-Émilion and its satellites. Bourg is the smaller appellation, nestled under the much bigger Blaye. Both have AC status, Cotes de Bourg AC and Cotes de Blaye AC. One step up on the AOC chain is the Premieres Cotes de Blaye AC, producing excellent red wines. Both regions rely primarily on Merlot, blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc. Whites are allowed here too – usually Sauvignon Blanc, creating dry and pleasant wine.
Listrac & Moulis
These two appellations are situated in the western part of the Medoc, in that they are further inland from their more prestigious neighbor communes like Margaux and Pauillac. In typically Medoc fashion, the wines are based on Cabernet Sauvignon. Due to their location further inland, the soils are dense and retain water, leading to wines that can be more rustic than those wines from communes on the riverbanks. But seek out the good producers, as many bargains are to be had in the Cru Bourgeois of these regions.
Entre Deux Mers is not exactly what it means – between two seas - as technically it's between two rivers. The wines produced in this region, sandwiched between the Garonne & Dardogne rivers, are light and charming and often reasonably priced. The AC of Entre Deux Mers is only for white wines, reds from the region will be listed as Bordeaux AC. Like other Bordeaux whites, wines of the area are made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. Light, crisp, citrus-y and floral, these wines are great summer drinkers.
Bordeaux & Bordeaux Superior
Bordeaux wines that do not fall under a specific appellation are labeled "Appellation Bordeaux" or "Appellation Bordeaux Superieur." The majority of wines made in Bordeaux fall into one of these categories. Wines from these two classifications are made with grapes that come from any appellation within Bordeaux – white or red. Most of the wines are white, and much of the red comes from Entre Deux Mers, where only white wines can bear the namesake appellation on their label. Bordeaux Superior has slightly stricter regulations than the Bordeaux AC.