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Spotlight on Sauvignon Blanc

This show was published 09 October 2021


Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world's most popular grapes and is an aromatic grape variety with intense aromas. Cat's pee on a gooseberry bush! We're going to be looking at its characteristics, wine making and where it is grown.

Chris describes the flavour profile of a typical Sauvignon Blanc while, which varies according to the climate it is grown in.

Its a vigorous grape which needs to be managed in the vineyard by techniques such as canopy management or low fertility soils. In the 1980's New Zealand became the new reference point for Sauvignon Blancs throughout the world and their viticultural methods such as Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) which make mechanical harvesting possible.

In terms of wine-making, as an aromatic variety, there is less intervention needed in the winery, with producers aiming for a wine that expresses the fruit and floral aromas and purity of flavour. Stainless steel is widely used for cool fermentation to encourage the development of primary flavours.

It can sometimes be blended, e.g. with Semillon to add body, richness and ageability, but mostly is it made as a single variety.

In New Zealand, it is grown across the whole country, but in Marlborough in the South Island it is the most widely planted grape variety. Elsewhere it is widely grown in the Loire Valley in France and also in Bordeaux where it is both a single variety but also blended with Semillon. Its also used to produce sweet, dessert wines, in Sauternes in Bordeaux and Monbazillac. In the USA its grown in California and known as Fume Blanc. You'll also find it in South Africa, Chile and Australia.


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The music used for the UK Wine Show is Griffes de Jingle 1 by Marcel de la Jartèle and Silence by Etoile Noire.

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