Sauvignon Blanc, Alsace

Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape, that has become incredibly popular, with increased plantings in Australia over the last 10 years. It grows best in the cooler wine regions.

Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Orange in New South Wales and Tasmania are all regions which produce wonderful examples of Sauvignon Blanc. The coolest vintages have “grassy”, gooseberry characters, whereas, warmer vintages show more passionfruit flavour, but still with the trademark zingy acidity. In Margaret River, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Semillon, this creates a perfect partnership and a fuller style of wine. In New Zealand, Cloudy Bay in the 1980s began producing stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines with extraordinarily intense nettly, gooseberry, and asparagus fruit, that set Marlborough firmly on the world wine map. Today Sauvignon Blanc is now New Zealand's trademark grape.

Sauvignon Blanc is an important white grape in France, especially Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It thrives on the gravelly soils of Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sémillon to produce Bordeaux Blancs and Cru Classé White Graves. Elsewhere in Bordeaux, it is also blended with Sémillon, to produce the amazing dessert wines of Sauternes. In the Loire Valley and particularly on the chalky soils found in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The wines produced are very different to New World equivalents, they tend to be less pungent, more restrained, mineral with smoky, gunflint notes.

After initial problems, it is now grown very successfully in Chile. The wines are almost halfway between the Loire and New Zealand in terms of fruit character.
The Alsace wine region is in the north-east of France and borders Germany. Although the region only accounts for 2% of France's vineyards it is responsible for producing some of the worlds finest white wines. Perhaps because of its Germanic influence, it is the only Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée region in France to produce mostly varietally labelled wines. In other words it is the only region in France where you're likely to see Pinot Gris, or Riesling denoted on the wine label. Another interesting note is that the region is the birthplace of biodynamic viticulture and the region still has the country's highest proportion of biodynamic producers.

Alsace gets plenty of sunshine hours, with a deep continental climate and superb meso-climate created by the sheltering presence of the Vosges Mountains. This allows the full spectrum of aromatic flavours to show in the grapes. The soils are quite diverse, with 13 different soil types in all.

The noble grapes of Alsace are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Muscat Ottonel and Muscat d'Alsace in the whites, and Pinot Noir in the reds. Recent decades have seen an increase in Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir plantings, while the classical Sylvaner grape is on the decline.

Wines are produced under three different appelations or AOCs:
  • - Alsace AOC: must be made from one of the 8 permitted grape varieties in the appellation (white, rosé and red wines)
  • - Alsace Grand Cru: Introduced in 1983, currently recognising 50 Grand Cru sites. It is the pinnacle of Alsace, where topography, aspect and soil type must be in harmony along with a track record of producing excellent wines.
  • - Crémant d'Alsace: Appelation for sparkling wines, that can be both dry or sweet.

High quality liquers and spirits are also made in Alsace by producers such as Bertrand and Vedrenne.
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  1. ONLINE TASTING PACK - FRENCH WINE NORTH, SOUTH, EAST AND WEST, 4 WEEK COURSE

    **THIS ONLINE TASTING IS OVER**

    This pack contains a bottle of 12 different wines to be opened during a series of 4 online tastings held throughout late August and early September 2020.

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