Why we love Sauvignon Blanc and Fumé Blanc
Here at 1850 Wine Cellars we produce two different styles of Sauvignon Blanc, an unoaked, traditional version of Sauvignon Blanc and a lightly oaked version in the style known as Fumé Blanc.
Fumé Blanc was introduced by a pioneer of our wine industry here in California, Robert Mondavi, in the 1960's and is traditionally a Sauvignon Blanc aged in oak. Our version boasts a touch of Roussanne blended in, introducing a bit more body to balance the Sauvignon Blanc.
What is Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape, and is green-skinned whereas some white wine grapes can be more yellow in color. It originates from the Bordeaux region in the Southwest of France.
The name Sauvignon Blanc means “Wild White” and it is one of the more intensely aromatic wine grapes, which is one of the reasons it is often unoaked, because it’s got so much going on already! Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted wine grapes in the world and because of this it has a range of styles and flavors depending on where it is produced.
You should not be afraid to pop that cork as it is a varietal that does not really benefit from aging so feel free to enjoy it young and just stock up on more as needed. As we all like a reason to celebrate, mark your calendars that the first Friday in May is International Sauvignon Blanc Day!
How does Sauvignon Blanc taste?
Sauvignon Blanc tastes very different from other white wines, like Chardonnay, because of its prominent green and herbaceous flavors along with bold citrus and racy acidity. It has primary fruit flavors of lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. Farming can have a huge impact on the flavor; depending on how ripe the grapes are when the wine is made, the flavor could range from a really zesty lime to aromatic peach. It should be noted that Sauvignon Blanc can also produce a delicious late harvest, dessert style wine.
What makes it unique from other white wines are its layers of herbaceous flavors like bell pepper, jalapeño, and even fresh cut grass. These flavors come from aromatic compounds called pyrazines and are the key to Sauvignon Blanc’s taste.
Strange as it may seem, the bright green Sauvignon Blanc has a lot in common with dark red skinned Cabernet Sauvignon, and not just in the name and region of origin. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon! The periodic bell-pepper and asparagus flavors detectable in both wines come from similar chemical flavor compounds often found in both varieties due to their genetic similarities.
Pairing Sauvignon Blanc with Food
Sauvignon Blanc pairs incredibly well with dishes containing green herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro, or mint. Salads or grilled fish prepared with lemon and herbs, and sour cheeses like Goat cheese, Greek yogurt, or Crème Fraîche are perfect in food pairings with Sauvignon Blanc. It is also known as one of the few wines that can pair well with sushi.
Fumé Blanc can sometimes pair with slightly heavier foods than Sauvignon Blanc, which is the case with ours but it doesn’t require it. Fish cakes and grilled fish can pair beautifully. One of our favorite hot weather pairings with Fumé Blanc is our refreshing Cucumber Gazpacho. We also pair it with our Chile Con Queso Flatbread in the Tasting Room!
We love this wine when enjoying spicy foods on a warm summer evening - don't be shy, add an ice cube to keep the wine cold and refreshing, we won't judge!
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