Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape, that can trace its origins too 2 wine regions in France - the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. But it was the style of wine made here in New Zealand in the 1980's that got people to take notice again and enjoy this expressive white varietal.
When it comes to making Sauvignon Blanc, winemakers can harvest the grapes at various intervals for different blending characteristics that the grape can impart depending on its ripeness. At its most unripe stage, the grape is high in malic acid. As it progresses towards ripeness the grape develops red & green capsicum flavours and in warmer climates, leading towards topical fruits like pineapple. Grapes grown on large planted sites may exhibit different levels of ripeness and flavours across the vineyard.


This can be caused by unevenness in the land, soil types, temperature range, angle of sunlight and wind - all giving a unique flavour profile to the resulting wine. The final style of Sauvignon Blanc can be greatly influenced by decisions made during the winemaking process. One decision is the amount of contact that the 'must' has with the skins of the grape. Some winemakers, like in the Loire Valley of France, intentionally leave a small amount of must to spend time in contact with the skins for later blending. Other winemakers (e.g. several in new world regions) generally avoid any contact with the skins, due to the reduced aging ability of the resulting wine.
Another important decision is the chosen temperature of fermentation. French winemakers prefer slightly warmer fermentation temperatures (around 16-18ºC) that bring out the mineral flavours in the wine. While New World winemakers (i.e. New Zealand, Chile) prefer slightly cooler temperatures (around 12-15ºC) to bring out more fruit and tropical notes on both the nose and on the palate.
A small number of Loire Valley winemakers will put the wine through malolactic fermentation, a practice also performed here in New Zealand. Oak barrel aging can have a pronounced effect on the final wine, with the oak rounding out the flavours and softening the naturally high acidity of the grape.
Some winemakers, like those in New Zealand and more recently in the Sancerre region, prefer stainless steel fermentation tanks over oak barrels with the intention of maintaining the sharp focus, aromas and flavour intensity of Sauvignon Blanc - enjoy.