Sauvignon Blanc is probably the world’s favourite white wine today.
Sauvignon Blanc from France
Sauvignon Blanc is native to France, but the French don’t usually shout about it. As is usually the case in the old world, French wines tend to be labelled by their region of origin as opposed to the grape variety. To get a good handle on French Sauvignon Blanc, you just need to become familiar with a few key regions:
White Bordeaux is usually a blend, and more often than not it will contain quite a lot of Sauvignon Blanc. Some of the best examples come from the Pessac Léognan and Graves region, though you will also find good Sauvignon based dry whites labelled Bordeaux and Entre Deux Mers. The sweet white wines of Sauternes and Barsac will probably have some Sauvignon in there too, though will be a very different style altogether!
The white wines of Bordeaux (region) can have considerable ageing potential, which is not always the case for white wines. See for yourself with a mature example such as Château Malartic-Lagravière from the excellent 2005 vintage, which you can buy here.
From the Loire Valley, white Sancerre wines will be 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Try a Sancerre and expect aromas of gooseberry and a distinctive flint character.
Not far from Sancerre, just across the Loire River, you will find the wines of Pouilly Fumé. Like Sancerre, these wines are pure Sauvignon Blanc. They are of a similar quality level and flavour profile, though you can expect Pouilly Fumé wines to be a little smokier in character. Be careful not to confuse these wines with Pouilly Fuissé, which is a French white wine from Burgundy but made from Chardonnay!
There are other parts of France producing Sauvignon Blanc for sure, though remember these few and you’ll be doing well. If you really are feeling adventurous, seek out wines from elsewhere in the Loire Valley such as the Côteaux de Giennois and Touraine, and wines outside the appellation system that do not follow strict laws governing what grape can be grown in what region.
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
New Zealand is world famous for Sauvignon Blanc, particularly from the Marlborough region. Here, you can expect lively tropical fruit aromas as well as herbaceous or even grassy character. On the palate it is usually mouth-watering with great acidity and a nice, long finish. Though Marlborough is the most famous region for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, you will also find it in other regions including:
- Hawke’s Bay
- Waipara Valley
- Central Otago
Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
Wines from Chile usually offer great value for money, and this is certainly the case for Chilean Sauvignon Blanc! These wines are relatively straightforward expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, ready to be enjoyed immediately for everyday drinking. Chile has some huge domestic producers such as Concha y Toro and Cono Sur, and a number of large international producers have interests there too, including Miguel Torres. Try Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc here.