Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc

When considering Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, it can be hard to find comparisons because these wines stand out relative to Sauvignon Blancs produced in other parts of the world. Many in the wine world consider these wines to be the absolute best expression of the grape because they manage to showcase all of the grape’s best attributes at once.

Many of the other places that make great Sauvignon Blancs tend to exhibit one of the grapes’ better qualities in a more pronounced way that sets it apart and acts as a hallmark of place. Another great aspect of Sauvignon Blanc is that it has really thrived in the “New World” or younger wine regions that produce less expensive wines. Just because these wines are less expensive doesn’t mean that they’re any less delicious, and this is especially true for Sauvignon Blanc.

VT Tasted: Pascal Cotat “Les Monts Damnés” Sancerre 2009
Try: A Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
The Sauvignon Blancs from Chile tend to show the grape’s fresh and lively side. These are wines that are especially aromatic and easy to drink. They don’t have any of the flinty minerality characteristic of Sancerres.

VT Tasted: Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2009
Try: A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
These Sauvignon Blancs are known for having a grassy, herbaceous quality that makes them especially great to pair with Asian foods. These are wines that really show the exuberant or wild side of the grape and have bolder fruit flavors.

VT Tasted: Ladoucette Pouilly Fumé 2007
Try: A Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa
The wines of Pouilly Fume are not, technically, the same as wines from Sancerre and get a separate acknowledgement. They’re made from the same grape in close proximity to Sancerre and are similar in style, but have the marked difference of a lighter body and headier perfume. The Sauvignon Blancs from South Africa reflect this style in their lighter body, fruit-forward flavors, and high acidity.

VT Tasted: Noel Bougrier “Les Auvrays” Sancerre 2009
Try: A Sauvignon Blanc form Friuli-Venezia, Italy
These Sauvignon Blancs can have the kind of tingle-on-your-tongue acidity that is reminiscent of fresh pineapple. They’re usually lighter in body but big on ripe fruit flavors.

VT Tasted: Yves Martin Sancerre Chavignol 2009
Try: A Sauvignon Blanc from Washington
This wine comes from one of the very best Sancerre-producing villages in the area, Chavignol. Of all the newer wine regions producing Sauvignon Blanc, the area that produces examples that are closest in style is Washington. These are Sauvignon Blancs that exhibit the same flinty minerality, slight fruit, full body, and racy acidity that have made Sancerre’s so popular the world over.

For more information on the episode featuring Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, click Episode Guide: Sipping Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley.

Photo of Sauvignon Blanc grapes courtesy of BIVC