Sauvignon Blanc, France

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.
Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
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  1. ANDRE DEZAT SANCERRE 2018
    The DEZAT family is one of the oldest wine-growing families in Sancerre. References to the family can be found in records dating as far back as 1550. André DEZAT took over the family vineyards in 1948 and became actively involved in promoting ... Learn More
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    Berry Bros and Rudd
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  2. HENRI BOURGEOIS SANCERRE BLANC 'LA VIGNE BLANCHE' 2016
    The original and still the best style of Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh green grass leads but is not pungent or offensive. Followed by crisp green apple and abundant smoky, stony mineral notes. Crunchy, raspy acidity, mineral and citrus flavours, feather light ... Learn More
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  3. GERARD BOULAY CLOS BEAUJEU SANCERRE 2016
    Naturally fermented in large, upright cuve, then aged in three and four-year-old 300L barrels. Captivating aromas of white flowers, pear and lemon. The wine is clean and bright with succulent yellow fruits and sharper citrus fruit. Has nice minerality on ... Learn More
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    John Gilman
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  4. 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.

    Across 4 weeks we will ... Learn More

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    Mark Faber
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    Bob Campbell MW
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    Antonio Galloni
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    Mark Faber
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    Campbell Mattinson
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