Sauvignon Blanc

Ah, Sauvignon Blanc, the country's favourite white wine variety. At its best, there's a fresh greenness to Savvy B that's like a just-mown lawn. The top wines from France's Loire Valley and Bordeaux will give you this impression, with perhaps fresh hay, nettles, and what wine boffs like to call flint or stone (we know, they don't make things easy, do they?).

Then New Zealand got in on the act in the 1970s. Passionfruit, gooseberries galore, and an immediate 'love it/loathe it' reaction and you've got the most impressive rise to stardom the white wine world's ever seen (so far).

Oak rarely plays a role in making Sauvignon Blanc wines: the fruit's delicate nature means it rarely brings anything to the party. And it's not just France and the Kiwis who are in on the act. Successful smart Sauvignon Blancs turn up from Chile to South Africa, Italy to Australia. But beware. Hot climates rarely make for a zippy style of Sauvignon. But, being the cash cow it is, everyone's keen to get in on the act.

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