Sauvignon Blanc: Sassy & Savage


Sauvignon Blanc GrapesFeatures: medium size berries tight bunches high acid content, late bud, early harvest
Susceptibility: Botrytis Cinerea (due to thin skins, awesome when trying to make sweet wines, not so awesome in the production of dry), Oidium, Black Rot
Sauvignon Blanc thrives in cool sunny climates, where it ripens early and buds late
Sauvignon Blanc is a very vigorous vine, and winewinemakers often need to pluck leaves in order to get the grapes to ripen. For this reason, yield control important to get concentrated flavors

Sauvignon Blanc can grow in sand, chalk, gravel, flint or Silex (smoky gunflint), which influences the flavor profile

  • Sand soils make more herbaceous wines
  • Clay gives more fruit and body
  • Kimmeridgean Chalk more minerality


Fermentation temperature affects flavor profile

  • Cool ferment give fruit and tropical flavors
  • Medium focuses on terroir and minerality
  • Barrel fermented has more body, but back to vegetal varietal character

Often needs a presoak to extract the most flavor.

Barrel aging is reserved for Bordeaux blends and for Fume Blanc in California

Most wines meant for early consumption, though some can age 10 years

Regions & Styles:

Old World New World


  • Loire Valley:
    • Sancerre: probably the most well known expression of Sauvignon Blanc, where the chalky soils make stellar dry wines
    • Pouilly Fumé: The silex soils lend a flinty smoky quality to these wines. Sauvignon is actually related to the word savage in French, and the wines from this region make the connection crystal clear
    • Quincy
    • Reuilly
    • Menetou-Salon
    • Tourraine
  • Bordeaux: The gravel soils here are often blended with Semillon and Muscadelle to produce full, waxy whites and honeyed dessert wines like Sauternes and St Croix du Mont.
  • Burgundy: Yep, Burgundy where almost all  other whites are Chardonnay based, the lone appelation of St Bris near Chablis, works only with Sauvignon Blanc 

 New Zealand

  • The grape that made New Zealand famous!
  • The most famous region is Marlborough, in the northern tip of South Island.
  • An abundance of sunshine and long cool growing season creates wild, fresh, zingy wines, renowned for notes of grapefruit, grass, and infamously, cat pee. 


Other lesser known regions:
  • Spain: Sauvignon blanc can sometimes be used in Rueda along with Verdejo
  • italy: Friuli and Alto Adige
  • Germany
  • Austria

Other regions

  • Australia:
  • California: Robert Mondavi created the infamous Fume Blanc in the 1970s, when he decided to oak his Sauvignon Blanc, which lent a smoky note. 
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • South Africa

 Common Descriptions

Color: pale, greenish yellow
Aroma: very pronounced gooseberry, fresh cut grass, kiwi, lime passion fruit, green pepper, lemon grass, flint, mineral, wet stones
Body: Medium
Acidity: high
Alcohol: medium
Flavors: bright citrus, tropical fruit, minerals