Thematic grape variety days seem to be the marketing trend of the past few years. They also provide a wonderful opportunity to survey some of the most noteworthy facts and stats about the grape being spotlighted. So in honor of sauvignon blanc day 2014, here are 10 facts about the grape that are great trivia items- and will undoubtedly be perfect tidbits to drop during “cocktail party” conversations.
1. Sauvignon blanc is a global phenomenon: It’s the world’s 8th most planted wine grape.
2. Sauvignon blanc hails from the cool Central Loire region in France. Here it makes the food-friendly, versatile and often mineral styles of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
4. Pungently aromatic styles were first made in Marlborough New Zealand and conquered the world with their fragrance of grass and tropical fruit. Its best known exponent still is Cloudy Bay. Similar styles are made in South Africa, coastal Chile and California.
5. Why does it smell so much like passion fruit and even mango? During fermentation, so-called thiols are created. These natural volatile sulphur-compounds are responsible for all this yummy fruitiness.
6. What about those grass and green pepper flavors? This goes back to a natural grape compound known as methoxy-pyrazine. The same compound is found in green bell peppers.
7. Sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc are the parents of cabernet sauvignon.
8. When fermented in stainless steel, sauvignon blanc is fresh, fruity and for early drinking. Oaked styles are more textured, less aromatic and can be aged. To juxtapose both styles for a perfect illustration, try Spring Mountain Vineyard in Napa.
9. Sauvignon blanc’s spiky acidity makes it the star ingredient in elegant white Bordeaux wines. It is paired with creamy sémillon to make the white wines of Graves and Pessac-Léognan. Domaine de Chavalier makes one of the best. Fab new world versions come from Australia’s Margaret River.
10. The killer combo of sémillon and sauvingon blanc is also responsible for the world’s most famous sweet wines, the sweet botrytised wines of Sauternes and Barsac.