May 4 is Sauvignon Blanc Day 2018. How much do you know about the versatile, refreshing varietal?Read More
- The grape can trace its history in French winemaking to the 9th century. In its early days in France, the grape was mainly used to make sweet sparkling and dessert wines.
- Now the grape is best-known for Southern African wines. Its history on that continent goes back to 1655, when it was first planted by the father of the South African nation—Jan Van Riebeeck.
- Like in France, the grape was originally used to make a different beverage than what it is now known for. Chenin Blanc grapes were used in South Africa’s booming brandy production.
- When the South African wine industry truly began to grow and gain acclaim, the country was looking for a signature varietal. Enter Chenin Blanc.
- With some experimentation, South African winemakers were able to create a wine very different from sweet dessert wines or brandy. The Chenin Blanc you most often drink is a result of this South African experimentation. Similar to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc is zesty, crisp, and dry.
Looking to try a South African Chenin Blanc? We have recommendations for you.
MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc- a crisp, expressive, medium-bodied wine with vibrant aromas of quince and tropical fruit. ON the palate, fresh stone fruit and apple flavors are backed by refreshing acidity and mineralogy. Pairs well with poultry, shellfish, and vegetable dishes.
ESSAY Chenin Blanc- a medium-bodied white blend with fruit salad, guava, and melon aromas and a refreshing mineral-acidity. Pairs well with a wide range of foods, especially sushi, oysters, Asian curries, sweet-and-sour dishes, and summer salads.
Reyneke Chenin Blanc - a bright straw hue with a lovely bouquet of fresh limes and citrus peel followed through by fruit sorbet floral undertones.
Tormentoso Chenin Blanc- intense aromas of apricots and canned white peaches with touches of coconut milk and vanilla from the oak. The palate is packed with ripe yellow fruit, apple core and quince flavors, with blanched refreshing acidity and tangy finish.
We also have two great French Chenin Blanc recommendations for you.
Pichot Le Peu de la Moriette Vouvray- well-balanced and crisp with distinct notes of pear, lemon, pineapple and honey (Restaurant Wine). Creamed pear, ginger and quince flavors...refreshing and focused (Wine Spectator).
Pichot Coteau de la Biche Vouvray Sec- dry and racy with a fresh quinine streak, but there's a succulent edge too, as fig and pear fruit fill out through the finish, where a lovely green almond note hangs on (Wine Spectator).
Warmer weather and longer days call for picnics, late nights on the porch, and time spent with friends. International Sauvignon Blanc Day was last week and we were inspired to pair some snacks and sauv blancs perfect for slow afternoons and breezy nights.
Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. For our first snack and sauv blanc pairing, Sauvignon Blancs pair brilliantly withsofter cheeses—goat’s milk, yogurt, crème fraiche. Beloved Green's Radish and Crème Fraîche crostini are a simple, light snack that look lovely on a plate.
Sauvignon Blancs are often described as “herbaceous” or “vegetal” so it makes sense that they would pair nicely with vegetarian dishes. Try pairing the Sauv Blanc with dishes that allow a little more of the wine’s acidity to shine through. This green goddess hummus from Cookie and Kate is a flavorful twist on the classic snack.
Like we mentioned, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with vegetables and pairs well with cheeses. No surprise, it pairs well with vegetable AND cheese dishes. These Asparagus and Goat Cheese Mini Quiches from Southern Living are wonderful for brunch (who says bloody marys and mimosas are the only brunch beverages?) and store well.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile white wines available. Perfect for the warmer weather, the variety of Sauvignon Blancs on the market-- Old World and New World-- mean you have plenty of options.
- Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s 8th most planted wine grape.
- No surprise, the grape hails from France. There the wine often takes its name from the region, not the varietal. Sancerre—not Sauvignon Blanc. So when you’re drinking a Sancerre, know it is from the same grape as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Originally the grape was used in other blends, usually to make sweeter desert wines. In the 20th century Sancerre found popularity in Parisian bars and bistros and the success spread around the globe.
- New Zealand is now one of the most well-known and well-loved producers of Sauvignon Blanc. 90% of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are from Marlborough, the wine region on the northernmost end of the island.
- If you read our blog on Malbec World Day, you’ll remember a nasty little bug called phylloxera that destroyed most of the French Malbec vines. The Sauvignon Blanc vines in New Zealand are all planted phylloxera-resistant rootstock. So take heart, your favorite Sauv Blanc most likely won’t suffer the fate of French Malbecs of old.
- France and New Zealand aren’t the only two countries providing the world with the easy-drinking wine. Italy, Chile, and South Africa are also major producers. (L to R: MAN, South Africa; Reyneke, South Africa; Gradis'ciutta, Italy; Cono Sur Chile)
- French Sancerre (also known as Pouilly Fumé and occasionally Sauvignon Blanc) are typically full of mineral and citrus flavors. ⬇️
- South African Sauvignon Blancs have balanced flavors with a light-medium body and acidity, in between mineral and herbaceous. ⬇️
- Chilean Sauvignon Blancs are marked by their citrus and green flavors and juicy high acidity. ⬇️
- New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs have intense tropical green flavors, a nice mix of fruity and herbaceous. ⬇️
- Italian Sauvignon Blancs, also “Old World” like French Sancerres, have a medium body with stone fruit, floral fragrances. ⬇️
- Whatever your preference, you can find just the Sauvignon Blanc for your taste. This is a wine easily enjoyed with or without food.