Sauvignon Blanc is a variety with early-mid ripening, very vigorous and therefore it is advised to graft it on a low-productivity clone and in soils with low fertility so this strength can be controlled. It has small packed clusters with also small berries. Sauvignon Blanc is highly susceptible to botrytis cinerea, as well as wood diseases and powdery mildew, but not to downy mildew. Vineyards set in cordon royat are likely to suffer eutypa dieback.
During the last decades, Sauvignon Blanc variety has spread unbridled all around the world. Sauvignon Blanc wines present a high acidity and a taste range linked to green material such as grass, leaves, nettles and currants when there are early harvests. Another common feature in Sauvignon Blanc wines is the distinctive aggressive “cat box” stench, especially in cold climate areas. When the harvest is over-ripened wines are bland, weak and boring.
Sauvignon Blanc is the third most planted variety in France, after Ugni Blanc y Chardonnay. In the Aquitaine region (Bourdeaux and Bergerac) there are excellent Sauvignon Blanc wines, where sometimes coupage wines are produced together with French oak-cask aged Sémillon, as for instance those from the AOC Pessac-Léognan.
But it is in Loire where Sauvignon Blanc finds its purest expression, particularly in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where mono-variety wines are produced without cask-ageing. Here the simplest wines are acid, dry, fresh and with green-fruits flavour, but the finest wines, coming from flint and clay-limestone soils, will need a long time in the bottle to develop all their potential.
The best Sauvignon Blanc wineries are: Didier Dagueneau, Pascal Cotat, Vincent Pinard y Alphonse Mellot.
Spain is too hot a country to be able to yield good Sauvignon Blanc wines, however, the most important plantations of this variety are in Castilla La Mancha and Castilla León, where this grape has gained importance equal to Verdejo, at the Rueda designation of origin. Some examples of Rueda Sauvignon Blanc are: Marqués de Riscal, José Pariente, Vinos Sanz (Finca La Colina), Martivilli y Sitios de Bodega (Palacio de Menade). In Cataluña, Tayaimgut and Torres Fransola, located at the Penedés appellation are two other examples worth considering.