Crisp apple and gooseberry are the hallmarks of great Sancerre and fine white bordeaux thanks to Sauvignon Blanc. Try New Zealand for riper kiwi and guava, or South America’s finest for instant refreshment.
Sauvignon Blanc grapes once grew wild throughout southwestern France, hence their name which can be translated to mean "feral white." Today the grapes are grown in many different regions throughout France, each with its own individual terroir characteristics. Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the gravely soils of the Loire River Valley have a spicy, floral, mineral-like flavor, while the same grape cultivated in the limestone soils of the Bordeaux are smoky on the tongue. The grape is also grown in Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa Chile, Brazil and California where it is typically known as Fumé Blanc (White Smoke.)
In France, Sauvignon Blanc is a component of several well-known blended wines like Sauternes, white Bordeaux and Pavillon Blanc. In Australia and California, the grape is made into popular, inexpensive varietal wines, often with screw caps instead of corks. If they aren't pruned, Sauvignon Blanc vines will grow so vigorously that the fruit may never ripen. The grape is susceptible to diseases such a powdery mildew and black rot.
The grape is very malleable in terms of its flavors. Not only does it pick up distinct flavors from the soils it's grown in, its taste is also greatly influenced by the winemaker's choices. Barrel fermentation adds more subtlety to the bold, brash mouthfeel that some oenophiles have likened to bell peppers or grapefruit. Except for white Bordeaux, most wines made from these grapes are designed to be consumed while young. The wines pair well with a variety of different foods, particularly pungent flavors like garlic, cilantro and strong flavored cheeses.