Sauvignon Blanc is a green skinned wine grape variety that originates from the Bordeaux region of France. It gets its name from the French words Sauvage (wild) and Blanc (white) due to its vigorous way in the vineyard and it becomes white wine. This grape variety is now planted world wide and produces a wide variety of styles. Most wine growing regions produce a crisp, dry refreshing wine that pairs well with light fare. In Sauternes France the grapes are left on the vine with the hope of being infected with Botrytis (Noble Rot) which desiccates the berry and intensifies the flavors producing a wonderfully sweet dessert wine.
The first cuttings were brought to California by Charles Wetmore founder of Cresta Blanca Winery in Livermore in the 1880’s. The cuttings came from the world renowned Chateau d’Yquem of Sauternes. In the late 60’s, Robert Mondavi began using the alias, “Fume Blanc” in reference to Sauvignon Blanc. The term Fume blanc originates in France and refers to the wines of Sancerre where the limestone soils are thought to impart a gun flinty flavor to the wine. New Zealand has most recently made a name for itself by setting a style of Sauvignon Blanc that is known for its tropical fruit nuances.
Sauvignon Blanc ripens early in September except for the coolest climates in California. It is thought to be one of the first varieties picked for still wine. It is very aromatic and offers varying flavors depending on clone and site. The flavors range from herbal, grassy to melons, passion fruit and gooseberry. It is pale to straw colored and pairs well with fish and fowl.
In 2009 we found a gem in the middle of Yountville in the Napa Valley where there are 5 rows of the Preston Clone Sauvignon Blanc. The combination of sandy clay soils along the Conn Creek on the valley floor and the cooling influence from the bay to the south results in a wonderfully fruity Sauvignon Blanc. We barrel fermented in used French Oak barrels and aged sur lie for 5 months. We plan to release this delicious wine in April of 2010.