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Wine Spectator School

Class 3: International Varieties

sauvignon blanc


The Grape

Sauvignon Blanc does well in a variety of climates, preferring warmer weather than Chardonnay. It is tricky to grow, however.

  • If the grapes don't ripen fully, they can display earthy and vegetal aromas.
  • If they get too ripe, insufficient acidity can make them flabby.


The Wine

Sauvignon Blanc is generally lighter - bodied than Chardonnay and is characterized by distinct herb, citrus, fig and sweet pea aromas and flavors.

The climate helps shape the wine style:

  • In cool climates it produces a crisp wine, often with more herbal and green vegetable notes.
  • In warmer areas the wine is less acidic and shows more fruit, especially melon and fig.

Making the wine with oak barrels makes it richer and more full-bodied.

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