Varietal 3: Sauvignon Blanc | Part D: Comparing Sauvignon Blanc

US Sauvignon Blanc:  This varietal lead the way in sales growth during the COVID pandemic with increases exceeding 30% from pre-COVID days.  California produces some striking Sauvignon Blanc wine typically falling into the moderate climate category and are frequently exposed to oak and lees.  The resulting wines are complex and rich and while they are quite dry, can appear slightly sweet due to the riper flavors of stone and tropical fruits.  Higher alcohol levels build on the richer flavors and make these wines full, but friendly.

French Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley is typically lighter, brighter and citrus flavored.  The vineyards in this area have chalky, gravelly soil which leave a wet stone or mineral taste to the wine.  Rarely exposed to oak or lees, these wines are super crisp, fresh just ripe fruit flavored with high acidity.  Nearly a complete opposite from the California style described, distinct herbal flavors are the common element in either style coming directly from the grape itself and becoming one of the most identifiable elements of Sauvignon Blanc.

Top Growing Regions:

U.S. Sauvignon Blanc Regions:

  • California – Napa, Sonoma, San Joaquin, Monterey, Mendocino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara
  • Washington – Columbia Valley

Global Sauvignon Blanc Regions:

  • France- Loire Valley, Sancerre (Eastern Bordeaux Region)
  • New Zealand
  • Chile
  • South Africa