Sauvignon is a feisty little grape with plenty of character. Whether it be the Kiwi versions bursting with gooseberry fruit and capsicum aromas or the more floral herbaceous styles from classic regions like the Loire.
Have you ever had a pet cat or smelt a blackberry bush? Well you should be able to sniff out a Sauvignon from afar – I’m afraid that is down to a hint of cat’s pee and cassis leaf. In the nicest possible way.
Sauvignon is a vigorous vine meaning if it was left to its own devices it would put all its energy into producing a mass of leaves rather than flavour rich grapes. So the skill of making a good Sauvignon is for the vineyard manager to tame that beast pruning carefully so it directs its energies into the grapes. In the winery they often leave the grapes to sit cold for a day or so to leach out all the aromas and flavours from the skin; hence those pungent characters.
Highly aromatic, naturally lean but can take on oily characters when produced in warmer climates and with a bit of lees contact. Most often unoaked except in classic Bordeaux styles bringing out a nettle and peppery character to the wine. Blends well with Semillon grapes. Typical flavours are gooseberry, elderflower and with age asparagus or pea shoot. Can produce mineral, gun flint notes in classic Loire styles such as Pouilly Fume.
Verdejo, Picpoul de Pinet, Muscadet, Verdicchio, Albarino, Semillon
France: Loire (Pouilly Fume/Sancerre), Bordeaux
New Zealand: Marlborough
Australia: Margaret River
South Africa: Elgin, Robertson
Chile: Casablanca, Leyda
Goats’ cheese, risotto, prawns, cod in parsley sauce