Inspired by a recent wine class and European travels, this edition of Same Grape, Different Name will be devoted to Sauvignon Blanc and its AKA’s!
The name originates from the French word sauvage, meaning “wild” and it is the parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon (so little family resemblance). Sauvignon Blanc grows well in cooler climates and typically produces dry, refreshing wines with herbal notes and zingy citrus flavors.
Here are the other monikers from around the globe:
New Zealand – Sauvignon Blanc (I feel like Captain Obvious here). This put the Marlborough region on the map and is now the most widely planted variety in New Zealand, grown successfully in all its wine regions. These wines are highly aromatic & have citrus flavors like grapefruit and lime along with stone fruit and a few herbal and grassy notes.
California – Fumé Blanc. Fumé is the French word for smoke and refers to the smoky flavors that occur when the Sauvignon Blanc is aged in oak, a popular practice in the area.
Loire Valley (France) – Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Do you know how long I avoided Pouilly-Fumé because it sounded like a bad perfume from the 80’s? Once I tried it, I never went back (even on a budget). These are some of France’s most charming wines, thanks to their inviting aromas of green apple, limes and a little minerality.
Austria & Germany - Muskat-Silvaner. Scents of grapefruit, passion fruit and gooseberry. I tried to refrain from using that as a description because most of us in the US don’t come across gooseberries very often, let alone recall their taste or smell. But give it a Google and you’ll discover it.
Knowing these synonyms can come in handy at the wine store, restaurants and while traveling. Of course, the region will have some impact on the flavor profile but there will likely be familiar characteristics in each expression. Come on, let’s live a little and get fumé with it! Try a new Sauvignon Blanc or AKA and let us know what you think.
Penny, a SAVVY Staffer
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