Garçon Wines Blog


Sauvignon Blanc: feral by name, feral by nature

Words by Camilla Karlsson, Operations Executive

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world's most famous grape varieties and widely grown over more than 306,000 acres across the globe. The name Sauvignon translates to wild vine in French, which is very apt, considering the extensive expansion of this very versatile and highly regarded grape variety. What some may have seen as a household wine has become a household name. Part of the popularity of Sauv B stems from its forthright flavour profile with typical notes of a citrus, herbaceous character. Due to this straightforwardness and as some would say, honesty, it has firmly cemented itself as one of the eminent white wine varieties alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.

Where Sauvignon Blanc has made a name for itself in the world  

Sauvignon Blanc originates from France and dates back to the 18th century. The exact origin remains a mystery to this day but is believed to be from Bordeaux. However, by far the most popular and recognised region for the grape is the Loire Valley. If you're searching for a French Sauvignon Blanc, this will typically be divided in two styles dependent on its origins in Bordeaux or the Loire Valley.

In the Bordeaux region, the common method is to blend the Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon to make white wine. This is a perfect marriage, as Sauvignon Blanc provides the aromatic and acidic notes, whilst Sémillon is well known for body and texture. The typical flavour notes to be found in this type of style are citrus, peaches, nuts, hay and herb. 

If you seek a Sauv B from the Loire Valley however, you will find a more fragrant and zingy fresh taste, with notes of gooseberry, flint and cut-grass. The grape thrives particularly well in the Loire Valley due to the hilly environment, which is typically close to a river. The soil type is mostly clay and limestone, and the valley creates excellent drainage. To complete the pairing, the European climate suits perfectly to this wine’s ideal growing environment of temperate temperatures.

This wild wine is beginning to be tamed in the New World location of New Zealand. The cool climate and dry summers lend themselves very well to providing a platform for this fount of racy acidity, and distinct and unusual flavour profiles spring forth, such as jalapeño, passion fruit, green bean and elderflower. Sauv B makes up around 60% of plantings in the country and roughly 85% of New Zealand’s wine exports. New Zealand really has taken this classic grape variety and embossed its own tangy stamp on it, causing envy around the wine world. Marlborough, in the South Island in particular, have carved out their own reputation for excellent Sauv B, and their gooseberry notes and aromas have to be experienced to be believed.

Other areas to successfully shackle this leviathan of the wine world are Australia ( in particular the isolated region of Western Australia) terroirs by the cooling oceans in South Africa and somewhat surprisingly in the North of Chile where the cold nights enable a sourness that will make you salivate.

Food pairing recommendations

If you would like to enjoy this refreshing wine with a nice meal, what should you then pair it with? I would argue that Sauv B works well in any situation but on a sunny day, with a seafood platter at your side, it’s hard to beat. Surprisingly, it also pairs very well with Thai food - trust me on this, beloved reader, and thank me later!

At risk from climate change

As is clear from the above, Sauvignon Blanc enjoys more moderate climates. Should the temperatures get too warm, then the grapes will ripen overly quickly, and the herbaceous and tart taste, for which Sauv B is so loved, will not be present. Global warming threatens the very fabric of our world, and I do by no means mean to trivialise this but Sauvignon Blanc could be one of many things we hold so dear that could be lost forever. As stewards of this world it is our duty to safeguard this, and so much more, for future generations.

To that end I firmly believe we need to do all we can to limit carbon emissions. It will not be easy by any means but every single item recycled, and every single conscious decision made selflessly will cumulatively combine to make a real and tangible difference.

We at Garçon Wines take sustainability very seriously, it underpins every decision we make as a company and embodies our entire ethos. By innovating in shape and using best-in-class material, our eco wine bottle is 40% spatially smaller and 87% lighter than a round glass bottle of the same volume, and thanks to the space-saving benefits of our bottle, in some instances up to 91% more wine can fit onto a pallet. These benefits have a direct environmental impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day and Cheers to this extremely versatile and flavoursome grape variety!

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