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If there's a grape that has had to face up to a few challenges over the years, it's Sauvignon Blanc. It grew to fame in Sancerre in the Loire but then New Zealand upped the anti and introduced Cloudy Bay as the iconic New World Sauvignon. If that wasn't enough, a number of youngsters have tapped into the lower end of the market and are all producing excellent quality wine.
Sauvignon Blanc is naturally a very distinctive white grape, with a tangy, zesty taste and a characteristic sharp aroma. It is produced in a number of wine growing regions and varies according to where it is grown. Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire tends to have a big splash of minerality and strong grassy, gooseberry aromas. New World versions, particularly from New Zealand and Chile, are usually citrussy, with more of a tropical edge. California has also taken to planting Sauvignon Blanc. It is more commonly known as Fume Blanc and is often aged in oak to add more body to the wine.
It's worth looking to Sancerre if you fancy trying the original style of Sauvignon Blanc, and to Marlborough if you want to see how the New Zealanders have transformed this grape. However, in both cases, be prepared for the price tags. You might prefer to look to Chile and South Africa if you still want great taste and quality Sauvignon but at a more affordable price.
Sauvignon Blanc is fairly acidic, making it one of, if not THE, most versatile white wines for matching with food. Team it with oily fish or seafood and the flavours of the wine will work wonders in accentuating the oils in the fish. Alternatively, serve it with dishes based around rich sauces, cheese or tomatoes. Sauvignon Blanc provides a great match for difficult food such as goat's cheese, asparagus, and pesto. If serving Sauvignon Blanc at a drinks party, you might like to make sure you've got some canapes to hand.
Sauvignon Blanc is best drunk young. Very few bottles (apart from Pouilly Fume) will taste better from being aged. So next time you buy a bottle, you no longer need an excus... simply crack it open straight away!
No matter whether you've gone for Old World or New, the key thing to remember is that it's hard to go wrong with Sauvignon Blanc. Most people love the crisp, elegant taste of this wine and, if you look outside the famous regions, you don't need to spend a fortune to get cracking quality.