May 6 is Sauvignon Blanc Day, and it’s a holiday worth observing with a chilled glass of crisp, white wine in hand. Sauvignon Blanc is a noble white wine grape. The green-hued varietal is not only popular worldwide, but it’s also one of the most versatile on the table!
Here’s what you need to know about Sauvignon Blanc: its history, flavour, wine styles and food pairings. This is our guide to Sauvignon Blanc - all its secrets revealed. Let’s celebrate the French varietal; after all, if you’re not in love with Sauvignon Blanc yet, you haven’t tried enough of it!
What is Sauvignon Blanc Day?
People celebrate Sauvignon Blanc Day on the first Friday of May, this year, 6 May 2022. This is a global social media celebration and wine tasting where producers, restaurants, retailers and wine lovers come together to hype the racy French grape.
As far as we know, the celebration was created in 2010 by Napa Valley’s St Supéry Winery. Still, many others soon joined the party, particularly in New Zealand, where the white grape has immense significance.
To find Sauvignon Blanc tastings and events near you, explore the web with the hashtags #SauvBlanc and #SauvBlancDay. The herbal grape has more fans than you think!
What is Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is a white/green-skinned wine grape from the Vitis vinifera family. It gets its name from the French term “Sauvage” or wild, as it is believed the grape grew wild in the verdant Loire Valley. Well supported theories suggest Sauvignon Blanc is the cross between another Loire native, Chenin Blanc and Traminer AKA Savagnin.
Although the Loire Valley is Sauvignon Blanc’s spiritual home, it’s used to make white wines worldwide. It’s the eighth most planted wine grape globally and the third most planted white grape behind the Spanish Airén and Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc thrives in cold climates in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
History of Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc was first mentioned in writing in the 1500s. People must have discovered it in the wild along the Loire River and cultivated it for its attractive fruit. Sauvignon Blanc found its way to Bordeaux in the following centuries, where it’s also widely planted. In fact, the robust Cabernet Sauvignon is the offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and the red Cabernet Franc. Sauvignon Blanc arrived in America in the 19th century and in New Zealand, another Sauvignon Blanc powerhouse, as late as 1975. Today, Sauvignon Blanc is grown mainly in the USA, New Zealand and France, making over 60% of the world’s Sauvignon vineyard, followed by Chile, Italy, South Africa, Australia and many others.
Wine-Producing Regions for Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc grows in every wine-producing country worldwide. From Canada to Mexico, from Spain to China. Still, some wine regions excel at making wine with the noble grape - below are some of the most famous.
Pouilly Fumé, Loire Valley, France - Known for its flinty Sauvignon, this is the source of some of the finest white wines in France. The wines are tart and smoky and have great versatility at the table. Try Joseph Mellot Pouilly-Fumé Le Chant des Vignes or Joseph Mellot Pouilly-Fumé Grande Cuvée des Edvins.
Sancerre, Loire Valley, France - This region in the upper Loire makes superb Sauvignon Blanc with a tight acidic backbone. Producers in the area make Pinot Noir and goat cheese as well! Try Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie or Domaine Henri Bourgeois Pouilly Fume En Travertin.
Bordeaux, France - Sauvignon Blanc feels right at home in the Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers regions in Bordeaux. Here, producers often blend it with the rounder Semillon and a splash of Muscadelle for complex wines. Try Chateau Des Antonins Bordeaux Blanc or Domaines Barons De Rothschild Lafite Légende Bordeaux Blanc.
Marlborough, New Zealand - Sauvignon Blanc’s home in the new world, New Zealand champions Sauvignon Blanc with a riper, more vibrant style, often redolent of tropical fruit and jalapeño peppers. Try Tokomaru Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Mamaku Sauvignon Blanc or Greywacke Marlborough Wild Sauvignon.
Casablanca, Aconcagua, Chile - Coastal Chile, influenced by the cold Pacific breeze, has proved to be an ideal spot for making crisp and mineral Sauvignon Blanc with ripe fruit on the nose. Neighbouring San Antonio Valley is a reliable source for the grape as well. Try Vina Montes Alpha Casablanca Chardonnay, Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay or Valdivieso Sauvignon Blanc.
California - Sauvignon Blanc makes 22% of California’s vineyards, so it’s hard to pinpoint its finest sources. It’s safe to say you’ll find fantastic Sauvignon anywhere, from the Sonoma Coast to the Napa Valley. The colder the region, the more refreshing Sauvignon Blanc will be. Try Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Aveta Sauvignon Blanc, Orin Swift Blank Stare, Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc or Robert Mondavi Reserve To Kalon Vineyard Fumé Blanc Oakville.
Sauvignon Blanc Wine Styles
Sauvignon Blanc comes in different styles, and although they all share flavour and aroma, they can vary, and you might enjoy one type over others.
Old World Sauvignon Blanc - This is the French, Italian and Slovenian rendition of the grape. These wines are mineral and tart and show herbal and citrus scents over a racy palate.
New World Sauvignon Blanc - In warmer climates, wines made with Sauvignon Blanc display a citrus acidity and aromas reminiscent of tropical fruit, including lychee and guava.
Oak Aged Sauvignon Blanc - Although not as common, some producers in Bordeaux age their Sauvignon blends in oak. The Californian Fumé Blanc is another splendid example. These wines can be medium-bodied and creamy, with a bolder profile.
Food Pairings for Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile varietal. It retains high acidity even in the warmest vintages, making it an ideal companion at the table. Here are some of the most successful food pairings for Sauvignon Blanc.
Fresh cheese - Fresh and curd cheese, especially goat cheese, feta, mozzarella, burrata and queso fresco, are fantastic with the tart wine. Soft-rind cheese, like Brie and Camembert, benefits from the wine’s acidity as well.
Fruit - Sauvignon Blanc’s tart palate balances the mild sweetness in fruit with spectacular results. Think of melon and prosciutto.
Seafood - Whitefish and oily fish are both compatible with Sauvignon’s zesty personality. Shellfish also shines with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand. Citrusy wines are best for seafood pairings.
Salads - All salads benefit from Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity, which plays the same role as acid-based dressings, like vinaigrettes. The wine will pair best with salads with crumbled cheese and hints of sweetness from fruit.
White meat - Oaked Sauvignon Blanc is medium-bodied and much bolder, and it’s an excellent choice for roast chicken and grilled pork. The pairing will work nicely as long as the food is not heavily seasoned or served with robust sauces.
Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day!
Now that you know all there is about the extraordinary white grape, it’s time to celebrate Sauvignon Blanc Day properly. Put together a cheese plater and a few other two-biters or go all-in with a seafood extravaganza. Call some friends over, pop open a few bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, and celebrate the thirst-quenching wines made with the noble varietal.
Sauvignon Blanc is not going anywhere - it’s more popular than ever! If you want to learn more about other excuses to pour yourself a glass of wine or want to expand your wine knowledge, make sure to browse around. Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day!