In the Loire Valley in particular, the Sancerre region, a continental climate also allows for slow ripening of the grapes. The soil make-up of chalk and marl produces intense minerality. Here the wine tends to have more floral notes with a touch of spice. They tend to be rich and complex. During the 1990s, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, specifically from the Marlborough Region on the South Island, became incredibly popular. The cool maritime climate and sandy loam soil over slate shingles create a pleasing wine that has grapefruit notes, nice minerality and refreshing acidity.
In the ’90s, Chile began to export quality Sauvignon Blanc wines as well. The cooler climate and mineral-rich soil planted at higher elevations tend to create a wine similar to those from France. They have less acidity with grassy flavors and nice minerality. Most wines from Chile tend to reflect those from France due to the fact that the wine makers there often consult with French farmers and wine makers.
In the U.S., Sauvignon Blanc gained popularity during the ’60s. It is grown mainly in California and Washington States. The climate and terroir is diverse in these regions and the wine tends to reflect where it is grown. They can mimic the wines of the South Pacific, and those of France. They can also be made in a unique style, which has been named Fume Blanc, where the wine is more rounded and softer with melon notes.
As with most wines, the ripeness of the grape influences the flavor it imparts on the wine. Less ripe grapes have higher acid levels and more green flavors, while riper grapes have more tropical flavors and over-ripe grapes have citrus flavors. Wine makers can choose to blend the different grapes to achieve the style of wine they would like for the final product. Now that you know a little bit more about the different flavor profiles of Sauvignon Blanc, head out and find what suits your palate. If you ever have any question feel free to ask me at Rob@vinovinonline.com or your local wine professional.