Sauvignon Blanc is considered to be an indigenous grape of South West France, therefore the grape is mostly known around the world by its French name, derived from the words sauvage (wild) and blanc (white). It is related to the Cabernet family as in XVIII century after its crossing with Cabernet Franc, it became a parent of red variety Cabernet Sauvignon.
In some countries (also in Italy) it is known as just Sauvignon, especially if it’s vinified into varietal wine. France was also the land were wines made from Sauvignon Blanc alone appeared first – the pioneers were the winemakers of Loire Valley, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Essentially varietal wines made of Sauvignon Blanc are crisp, dry and very refreshing all around the world (as it is now widely cultivated from(in?) France and Italy to South Africa and New Zealand).
Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with other varieties. For instance blended with Semillion it shows its value in great dessert wines like Sauternes, or proves its traditional aromatic qualities in dry white Bordeaux from Graves.
Common flavors produced from the Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in cooler climates include green apple, melon, blackcurrant, gooseberry as well as exotic fruits. Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in warmer climates typically have herbaceous aromas such as herbs, weed, green peas and bell peppers. If harvested early, the grape develops grassy, vegetation aromas.
Some winemakers harvest the grape at various intervals for the different blending characteristics the grape can impart depending on the level of ripeness. It is one of the few grapes which can be greatly influenced by decisions in the winemaking process.
In Italy it is planted in some areas, mostly in Northern regions (Alto Adige and Collio are two of the best known) and Tuscany. Here on the coast Sauvignon Blanc is mostly blended with other varieties like Vermentino, Chardonnay and Trebbiano, but is also presented as varietal wine in some progressive DOC appelations like Bolgheri and Colline Lucchesi.
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