From Sancerre To Marlborough: The Top Sauvignon Blanc Regions You Need To Know

Coming close after Chardonnay in popularity, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most enjoyed wines in the world. It is so rich in character such that it is used as a varietal wine. This means the grape is perfect on its own and does not need to be blended.

Sauvignon Blanc
Photo by Kris Gerhard on Unsplash

It is also a food-friendly, dry white wine. You can pair the Sauvignon Blanc wines with cucumbers, broccoli, avocado, peas, asparagus, and other green vegetables.

For meats, the wines match with fish, chicken, and seafoods. As you can see, these are all white meats. It won’t hit the right notes if you pair it with red meats, which match well with Pinot Noir wines.

What is Sauvignon Blanc?

This green grape variety originated in France, but it now grows in different regions. The name Sauvignon Blanc is loosely coined from French words meaning “wild white.”

While it originated from Bordeaux in France, it is now spread far and wide. It has grown in North America from the Nineteenth Century. In New Zealand and South Africa, the grape has been grown since 1973 and the 1980s, respectively.

The origin of this grape is in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux in France. It has grown there for more than 500 years.

This wine has different flavors depending on where it was grown. For instance, those grown in California have a razor sharp crispness, and they tend to have grapefruit, lime, melon, apple, and fig flavors.

The Sauvignon Blanc grown in Chile has well pronounced herbaceous notes, with hints of lime, pineapple, and peach.

These wines come in their varieties, with different alcohol content, again, depending on where they grow. This brings us to another section, about various regions that grow these grapes.

Sancerre – Loire Valley, France

This is not a surprise at all, since the Loire Valley is one of the places with the oldest tradition of growing Sauvignon Blanc. Connoisseurs are able to tell whether the Blanc they are taking is from by the taste. Those from the Loire Valley have subtle flavors.

The taste notes for the Blanc from Sancerre include gooseberry, yellow plum, white peach, gray salt, lime, chamomile, thyme, Meyer lemon, pear, green apple, honeysuckle, flint, and straw to name but a few.

When it comes to pairing the food with the Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc, the versatility is amazing. In the Loire Valley, they pair it with aged goat cheese. In other places, they pair it with roast chicken, pork chops, trout, bass, salmon, and pork.

You can also pair this wine with different varieties of vegetables including onions, different types of cheeses, and spices and herbs.

Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand

From New Zealand’s South Island, you get the Marlborough Sauvignon. In the early 1970s, Sauvignon Blanc was introduced to New Zealand, with the first vine being planted in Montana in 1973. Today, Montana has since changed its name to Brancott Estate.

The outstanding difference between Loire’s and New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc is in the taste. The one from the Loire Valley is crisp and has subtle flavors, but the New Zealand one is crisp, and very pronounced in taste and aroma.

The Marlborough wine flavors include grapefruit, lime, white peach, passion fruit, pineapple, and lemon. It is rich in gooseberry, tomato leaf, and green capsicum aromas.

The best foods to match with the New Zealand Sauvignon include seafood cooked Asian-style, grilled fish, smoked salmon, chips, mackerel and Thai food. It matches well with vegetables like asparagus, red peppers (grilled), tomato, feta, and goat cheese.

South African Sauvignon Blanc

You might not find the Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa in many publications, but it is a nice, hidden gem enjoyed only by people that love to experiment with wines grown in different soils and climates.

They have grown this grape since the 1980s, a decade after being introduced to New Zealand, in the Cape South Coast region.

Thanks to the tropical climate of South Africa, this wine has well-pronounced fruity notes. There is Kiwi fruit, crushed and tart gooseberry taste and apples. Some aromas you might note in this wine include sweet oak, pears, apples, and wet stones to name but a few.

Because of the mineral content of the South African soil, the Sauvignon Blanc wines from this region are best-paired with oysters, grilled fish, saltwater bass, prawns, crabs, sushi, and chicken.

Sauvignon Blanc grown in California

In California, they refer to this dry white wine as Fumé Blanc. This grape variety is grown in the Happy Valley mostly, but there are several other places. There are more than 16,000 acres with this grape in California, so you can imagine how big it is. In fact, it is the fourth most grown grape in this state.

The main flavors and aromas that you will get from this wine include fig, green apple, gooseberries, melon, grass, and lime. To make it richer, some of California’s vintners blend it with under-ripe Sémillon (thin-skinned grape), which enhances its barrel-aging ability. The Sauvignon Blanc from this region has higher alcohol content too.

You can pair this wine with foods such as asparagus, peas, goat cheese, lemon-based sauces. As a high-acidity wine, you can take it even with the most acidic foods, as their tartness cannot match up to that of the wine.

Andes Mountains in Chile

This grape performs very well in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains in Chile. Precisely, most of the Blanc from Chile is grown in the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys. They are also grown in the cool valleys along the coast.

The Chilean Sauvignon Blanc come with tangerine, grapefruit, lime and salt flavors. The aromas come can be wide-ranging, starting with grass, vervain, and cedar.

You can pair the Chilean Blanc with seafoods such as scallops, lobster, clams, oyster, and prawns. Also pair them with ceviche and raw shellfish.

Spanish Sauvignon Blanc

The Spanish Sauvignon Blanc mainly grows in La Mancha area in bulk. However, there are a few places where they produce high quality Blanc.

The flagship flavors for the Spanish-grown Sauvignon blanc range from honeydew melon, bell pepper, and most seafoods, cooked or raw.

Italian Sauvignon Blanc

Italy grows this grape variety in Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy. The Tuscany region in central Italy also grows a large amount of these grapes.

It comes with flavors like white peach, sweet gooseberry, orange blossom and pear.

Italy is a food powerhouse, and you can pair most salads, seafoods, and Mediterranean foods with the Italian Sauvignon Blanc.

Australian Sauvignon Blanc

This is the most popular grape in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Like the Blancs from other regions, this one from down under also comes with fruity flavors.

It is best paired with foods like goat cheese, chicken, shellfish, oysters, green vegetables, and acidic or lemon-based sauces.

Sauvignon Blanc is grown in almost all regions, and as shown in South Africa, this grape can do well in warm places. Initially, it was thought to be a cool climate grape.

Among the other places where it grows but not listed in the above write-up include Romania, Canada, and Bulgaria to name but a few.

The flavor has a touch of fruit, but this mostly depends on the climate and the soil of the growing region. Those from Africa have strong tropical fruit flavors, while those from North America have a citric taste.

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