Sauvignon Blanc: The Pixie
We call Sauvignon Blanc the “Pixie” because of its teasing, impish character.
Sauvignon Blanc’s home territory is at the eastern edge of the Loire River region of France. Distinctive appellations are Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
Under the local Loire Valley name of Fiers, Sauvignon Blanc is mentioned in Chapter 25 of François Rabelais’ Gargantua in 1534.
The term Sauvignon Blanc refers to the vine’s resemblance to the leaves of wild grapes, from the French word Sauvage.
Sauvignon Blanc migrated to Bordeaux in the 17th century where it crossed spontaneously with Cabernet Franc to create Cabernet Sauvignon
- Sauvignon Blanc is widely planted around the world.
- Crisp, dry, and refreshing white varietal wine.
- Some New World Sauvignon Blancs, particularly from California, may also be called “Fume Blanc“ – some oak
- Cooler climates bring noticeable acidity and “green flavors” of grass, green bell peppers, cat’s pee, and nettles with some tropical fruit and floral.
- Warmer climates bring on more tropical fruit notes but there is a risk of losing aromatics from over-ripeness, leaving only slight grapefruit and tree fruit (such as peach) notes, as well as a risk of losing acidity.
France – Three Regions for Sauvignon Blanc
- Loire – Lime, grass, minerals. Best examples are medium-bodied, high alcohol, high acidity with white peach, grapefruit
- Bordeaux – lighter bodied, lemony, grassy, high acidity, lemon curd, lemongrass and, if oak-aged, creamy nutty flavors and textures
- Southwest France/Languedoc – light medium body and high acidity, citrus, often blended with Ugni Blanc or Colombard
New Zealand – Marlborough
- Cool maritime climate
- Long steady growing season
- Grapes develop natural balance of acids and sugars.
- Brings out flavors and intensity.
- Asparagus, gooseberry, cat’s pee and grassy, green flavor
- Methoxypyrazines become more pronounced and concentrated in wines from cooler climates.
In the South Australian regions of Adelaide Hills and Padthaway, Sauvignon Blanc is riper in flavor (than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc), with white peach and lime notes.
Western Australia: Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc, often blended with Sémillon.
Sauvignon Blanc – Chile – Best examples from the cooler coastal region. Notes of grass, lime juice, pineapple, green banana, high acidity, and salinity
American Sauvignon Blanc
- Napa – warmer climate – white peach, grapefruit, and honeydew melon, medium body, medium acidity and moderate alcohol
- Sonoma – cooler climate – green apple, honeydew, pineapple – moderate alcohol, light to medium body, mid to hhigh-levelacidity
- Washington State Columbia Valley – mineral, grapefruit, lime, light-bodied, high acidity
- Some examples have oak aging, lees stirring