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Sauvignon Blanc
of the World


Event Description

July 13th


1.5 hours


This is the sixth in our series of grape variety tastings showcasing examples across the world. On this evening, we will be tasting eight fantastic expressions of Sauvignon Blanc with examples from France and further afield including South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, California, Chile and even Spain.

Sauvignon Blanc

Invariably Sauvignon Blanc is thought of as a one dimensional high acid, highly aromatic white wine from New Zealand with flavours of tropical fruit, gooseberries, grass and capsicum. In reality its far more than that. It can appear in many different forms, from a light-bodied accessible and grassy Loire Valley wine to a complex, weighty white Bordeaux with a bit of wood treatment, and lusciously rich, sweet styles.

Sauvignon Blanc contains a famous aromatic compound (methoxypyrazine) which accounts for its distinctive green bell pepper character. When Sauvignon Blanc grapes are exposed to sunlight, this compound decreases dramatically and to put it in context grapes grown in the shade have nearly double the amount compared to those grown in the sunlight! 

Sauvignon Blanc thrives in cool to moderate climates (Sancerre anyone?) and in the right hands it can be marvelous. If the climate is too warm, then the grapes will ripen too quickly, and the variety’s distinctive acidity will drop and the characteristic herbaceous note will not develop. If it is grown in moderate climates, it needs a site with the cooling influence of altitude or ocean breezes to aid in developing its characteristic flavours.

Once the grapes are harvested, the winemaker has many options in determining the final style of the wine. A winemaker can choose to use inert vessels (such as stainless steel) or wooden barrels although most opt for stainless steel because it retains the signature aromatic, fruity aromas. However, there are some wineries which use oak barrels for storage in order to give the wine additional flavours – such as vanilla, cloves and smoke - and encourage the development of honey and nutty flavours with age.

While Sauvignon Blanc is not usually blended with other grape varieties, some winemakers do blend (most commonly with Sémillon) to add complexity and weight. Top Bordeaux appellations (such as Pessac-Léognan) often put a percentage of their wine into oak and blend it with a small amount of Sémillon. Although in regions such as Margaret River they also blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon and make a fresh grassy and citrusy style for immediate drinking.

Wines on Tasting:*

  • TBC, Touraine
  • Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, Loire Valley
  • Chateau Guiraud White Bordeaux, Pessac Leognan, Bordeaux
  • Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa
  • Casablanca, Chile
  • TBC, Sweet

Note - due to stock or vintage changes some wines may be substituted. This list is indicative of what may be on offer*

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