LIQUOR / Sauvignon Blanc
This aromatically distinctive and extremely popular white grape variety is widely planted across France and parts of the New World, most notably and successfully in New Zealand. In the Loire Valley (in the main appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume which can be considered the varieties' spiritual homeland) Sauvignon Blanc produces dry table wines with a distinctive aromatic profile and more chalky minerality / distinct flinty elements than you will find in new world examples. It is also cultivated in small quantities in Bordeaux, South West France where it is commonly blended with Semillon to produce both premium dry table wines in the communes of Pessac-Leognan and Graves, and the great sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.
In Australia the variety is widely cultivated and forms the basis of Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends while Australia's best mono varietal versions come from the cool, Adelaide Hills in (South Australia). Sauvignon Blanc's meteoric rise to fame though took place in Marlborough in the South Island of New Zealand developed with its own particular style of perfumed, herbaceous, and often obviously fruity style designed to be consumed young. The success of this style of Sauvignon Blanc cannot be under estimated.
Sauvignon Blanc's unique and distinctive aromatic profile is perhaps is greatest asset, imparting a characteristic herbaceous aroma of cut grass, musk, green fruits and at times a profile of passion fruit and tropical fruits in New Zealand and more mineral, chalky characteristics in traditional producers in France. These immediately recognisable and gratifying aromas combined with Sauvignon Blanc's natural acidity and fresh finish have made it extremely popular. Outstanding producers include Cloudy Bay, Dog Point and Catalina Sounds (New Zealand), Dominique Portet, Geoff Weaver and Shaw & Smith (Australia) and Jean Reverdy, Gerard Bouley and Vincent Pinard in Sancerre and Didier Dageneau in Pouilly Fume in France.
The Oxford Companion to Wine, (ed) Jancis Robinson