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Dear Dr. Vinny,
This evening I tasted a Sauvignon Blanc that was really fruity, and I am almost certain the main fragrance was mango. Is that possible with a Sauvignon Blanc?
—Oceane, United Kingdom
Absolutely. First of all, if a wine reminds you of a flavor or aroma, you don’t have to check to see if it’s “correct”—your experience is always correct! That said, there’s a common vocabulary a lot of wine lovers use to make it easier to for us to communicate our experiences. If a wine reminds me of the way my grandmother’s house used to smell, that’s terrific. But if I can say it smelled like dried roses, chocolate and cedar, that’s probably more useful to most people.
So, back to Sauvignon Blanc. The one thing I find running through the vast majority of Sauvignon Blancs is a thread of juicy acidity. I often pick up citrus notes such as lemon, lime or grapefruit, but in warmer climates or vintages, flavors can also veer to the tropical, like papaya, pineapple or—as you picked up—mango. Also typical are stone fruits like peach, nectarine and apricot. Outside of fruit flavors, I may also get herb, fresh-cut grass, jalapeño, sweet pea, gooseberry, smoke, spice or mineral notes, depending on the wine. And now I’m thirsty for Sauvignon Blanc!
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