Curious to discover all about Sauvignon Blanc and the best bottles to buy?
Sauvignon Blanc is both a grape variety and a beautiful, aromatic white wine. The Sauvignon Blanc grape is grown worldwide and produces wine with instantly recognizable grassy notes and a dominating citrus flavor.
Let’s explore all there is to know about Sauvignon Blanc - from its distinctive taste to the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in 2021 and where to buy them!
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to go to a specific section)
- What is Sauvignon Blanc?
- Sauvignon Blanc - A Brief History
- Where is Sauvignon Blanc Grown?
- Sauvignon Blanc Viticulture
- Sauvignon Blanc Styles, Taste and Characteristics
- Sauvignon Blanc in Blends
- Sauvignon Blanc Food Pairings
- The Best Sauvignon Blanc Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)
- Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc 2011
- Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Asteroide 2008
- Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux 2013
- Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Neore 2008
- Dana Estates Hershey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015
- Melka 'Mekerra' White 2016
- Didier Dagueneau Sancerre 'Le Mont Damne' 2010
- Lail Vineyards Georgia Sauvignon Blanc 2015
- Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex 2005
- Francois Cotat Sancerre Cuvee Paul 2017
What is Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape variety that originated in Bordeaux, France.
Its name means “wild white” - from the French words Sauvage (wild) and blanc (white).
Other popular names it goes by are Fume Blanc (mostly in the USA), Pinot Mestny Bely, and Muskat-Silvaner (in Germany and Austria.)
Let’s see how it all started.
Sauvignon Blanc - A Brief History
The origins of Sauvignon Blanc can be traced back to the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions in France.
Interestingly, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc were paired in the 18th century and it gave birth to the grape variety Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Sauvignon Blanc cuttings were transported to Chile, New Zealand, and the US. Since then Sauvignon Blanc wine has been popular worldwide leading to a range of New World Sauvignon Blancs!
In 1968 the American winemaker Robert Mondavi coined the term Fume Blanc for his Sauvignon Blanc wines. This marketing move was intended to create an association of the Californian Sauvignon Blanc with its high-quality French counterpart Pouilly-Fumé.
Where is Sauvignon Blanc Grown?
Sauvignon Blanc is grown all over the world. Here are some of the most popular Sauvignon Blanc wine regions:
In France, Sauvignon Blanc is grown in Bordeaux, the Loire Valley (along with Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc), and the Saint-Bris appellation.
There are three other white grape varieties allowed to be grown in Bordeaux besides Sauvignon Blanc. These are Muscadelle, Sémillon, and Ugni Blanc.
The cooler climate of France allows for a slower ripening process, and the grapes develop more complex aromas, acidity, and sugar levels.
2. New Zealand
The maritime climate in New Zealand creates excellent conditions for the slow and steady ripening of Sauvignon Blanc. Most New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines are produced in Marlborough - the Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is a great example.
In Australia, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Sémillon, but there are some exceptional varietal Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Adelaide Hills and Padthaway regions.
Sauvignon Blanc wines from Chile have lower acidity and are similar to the French Sauvignon Blancs.
5. The USA
The largest producer of Sauvignon Blanc in the US is California. The Robert Mondavi winery, situated in Napa Valley, is one of the most popular Sauvignon Blanc producers.
Sauvignon Blanc wine is also made in Washington and Ohio.
6. Other Regions
Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular grape variety in South Africa (Durbanville and Stellenbosch) and Italy (Collio Goriziano). The grapes are also grown in Canada, Romania, and Bulgaria.
Sauvignon Blanc Viticulture
The Sauvignon Blanc vine can quickly adapt to different terroirs and climates.
Depending on the grapes’ ripeness, the vine can produce wines with different flavor profiles and characteristics.
Sauvignon Blanc grapes ripen quickly, which allows them to grow in colder climate conditions like the Loire Valley. Their high acidity levels also allow them to thrive in places with warmer weather, like South Africa, California, and Australia.
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Sauvignon Blanc Winemaking Process
Let’s take a look at the steps in Sauvignon Blanc winemaking that determine the wine’s unique characteristics.
- Pressing: After harvesting, some winemakers expose the must to the grape skins for longer. This gives the wine a slightly spicy taste.
Other winemakers prefer not to expose the grape juice to the skins because this is believed to reduce the wine’s aging potential.
- Fermentation: The fermentation process can also change the wine’s flavor. New World producers prefer colder fermentation temperatures (5.6 - 10 °C) that enhance the wine’s fruity tasting notes.
On the other hand, French winemakers prefer a fermentation temperature of 16-18 °C, which increases the mineral flavors of Sauvignon Blanc. Some Loire Valley wine producers even put the wine through malolactic fermentation to create a more buttery flavor.
- Aging: The wine is aged in oak barrels (for a rounder flavor profile and softer taste) or in stainless steel tanks (to preserve the fresh aromas and sharp acidity.)
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Sauvignon Blanc Styles, Taste and Characteristics
Varietal Sauvignon Blanc wines are usually dry, medium-bodied, and with a crisp texture. You’ll also find sweet Sauvignon Blanc wines, which are made by leaving a bit of residual sugar in the wine.
The taste of Sauvignon Blanc wines varies from lemon zest and green apple to passion fruit and juicy white peach depending on the grapes’ ripeness.
This unique white wine has very distinctive fresh herb notes of bell pepper, freshly cut grass, and gooseberry.
Some wines have oaky flavors of vanilla, cream, and nutmeg with medium to high acidity.
Read more: Serve your wine in style with the help of this useful guide on How to Choose the Right Wine Glass!
Now, Sauvignon Blanc is used in creating some great blended wines.
Sauvignon Blanc in Blends
Sauvignon Blanc is used along with the Muscadelle and Sémillon grape varieties in the making of dessert wine like Sauternes and Barsac (also known as Bordeaux Blanc blends.)
These blends are usually made with grapes affected by noble rot, which increases the grapes’ sugar levels and aromas. They have rich honeysuckle and apricot flavors and have great aging potential.
Wondering how many bottles of Sauvignon Blanc to buy for your next gathering? Check How Many Glasses in a Bottle of Wine.
Sauvignon Blanc Food Pairings
Sauvignon Blanc is a wonderful wine for dishes with a rich herbaceous taste of basil, rosemary, and mint. The wine will bring forward the herbal notes and enhance their flavors.
You can pair a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with chicken in a creamy sauce, white fish, or vegetarian dishes. It also pairs well with delightful chevre cheese platters.
Remember to serve it chilled at a temperature of 8-11 °C.
Read more: Want to know How Many Calories are in a Glass of Red Wine?
So, which are the best Sauvignon Blanc wines you can get your hands on?
The Best Sauvignon Blanc Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)
1. Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc 2011
The Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc is a rich dry wine from Napa Valley. It has citrus fruit tasting notes with an elegant melon and pineapple aroma.
Price ofScreaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc 2011: $8,225
2. Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Asteroide 2008
This delightful Pouilly Fume from the heart of France has a dark golden color and a rich, balanced flavor profile. The noticeable tropical fruit flavors are accompanied by light mineral, lemon, and honey undertones.
Price of Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Asteroide 2008: $1,672
3. Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux 2013
A classic Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc is a rare gem from the Chateaux Margaux. The wine has elegant flavors of caramel, passion fruit, and pink grapefruit with a soft oaky vanilla aftertaste.
Price of Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux 2013: $300
4. Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Neore 2008
This Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most sought-after white wines from Sancerre. It has dominating grass and gooseberry flavors complemented by the wine’s high acidity and slight honey undertones.
Price of Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Neore 2008: $464
5. Dana Estates Hershey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015
This Sauvignon Blanc comes from the warm hillsides of Howell Mountain in California. It has a tropical taste accompanied by fruit flavors of peach, apple, and apricot.
Price of Dana Estates Hershey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015: $255
6. Melka 'Mekerra' White 2016
This elegant dry wine is a rare Sauvignon Blanc from the Knights Valley, California. It has delightful stone fruit flavors with a rich grapefruit aroma.
Price of Melka 'Mekerra' White 2016: $167
7. Didier Dagueneau Sancerre 'Le Mont Damne' 2010
This well-aged wine has developed softer tasting notes and a rich flavor profile. It has a tropical fruit aroma, and on the palate, you can taste pineapple and zesty lime.
Price of Didier Dagueneau Sancerre 'Le Mont Damne' 2010: $208
8. Lail Vineyards Georgia Sauvignon Blanc 2015
A Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc with an alcohol content of 14.5% and a flavorful bouquet of aromas. This exquisite white wine combines fruity tasting notes of pear, peach, and melon with vanilla and coconut hints.
Price of Lail Vineyards Georgia Sauvignon Blanc 2015: $165
9. Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex 2005
This is the most popular Sauvignon Blanc from Loire, France. It is an elegant combination of citrus, pear, and apple tasting notes with minerality and honey undertones.
Price of Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex 2005: $325
10. Francois Cotat Sancerre Cuvee Paul 2017
An elegant white wine from Sancerre that is a bit sweeter than the typical Sauvignon Blancs. It is a delicious combination of orange peel and pineapple flavors with a hint of honey aromas.
Price of Francois Cotat Sancerre Cuvee Paul 2017: $171
Should You Invest in Sauvignon Blanc Wine?
Most Sauvignon Blanc wines are not considered investment wines because most of them are meant to be drunk early.
The average Sauvignon Blanc has a shelf life of 12 to 18 months. The aging ability also depends on the winemaking process.
High acidity Sauvignon Blanc that has been fermented and aged in a barrel (like the rare Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc) lasts longer than its counterparts, which are fermented in stainless steel tanks. Wines like these do have investment potential and have achieved lucrative returns over the past few years.
Also, Sauvignon Blanc blends with high residual sugar levels (like Sauternes and some Bordeaux blend wines) can age for decades and make good investment wines.
Wondering how to buy a rare bottle of French Sauvignon Blanc or any other investment-grade bottle?
Your local wine shop may supply mostly staple wines, and buying online has the risk of getting a damaged or counterfeit bottle.
Besides that, having to ship these bottles and store them safely for years will make wine investing a cumbersome exercise for you!
Luckily, you can go on an online wine investment platform like Vinovest and easily buy various wine bottles, including limited editions!
Let’s see how that works.
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A Toast to Sauvignon Blanc!
The distinctive freshness and crisp aromas of a Sauvignon Blanc make it a delightful treat on a hot summer day or along with a traditional dinner!
You can easily buy, store, and even sell some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc blends and other rare wines using a wine investment platform like Vinovest.
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