Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white wine varietals, especially since New Zealand producers started exporting their crisp fruit driven styles in the late 1980s.  American Sauvignon Blancs are often labeled “Fume Blanc.” This branding was started by Robert Mondavi, who in a reference to the Smoky Pouilly-Fume Sauvignon of the Loire, added oak to his wines.  These days, however, the name “Fume Blanc” can be used as a label for any Sauvignon Blanc wine – whether it sees oak or not.

I would guess that most people who love Sauvignon Blanc prefer the crisp, pure fruit driven style.  Oak often can get in the way of the delicate aromas.  Concours Mondial de Sauvignon decided to explore how, if at all to use oak in this varietal wine and their findings make for interesting reading:  http://cmsauvignon.com/en/are-sauvignon-aromas-incompatible-with-oak/

This article is great reading for anyone interested in the science of winemaking. WSET Level 3 and Diploma students in particular should take a look as well.

In my wine tasting journeys I have found that most oaked Sauvignon suffers from too heavy a hand.  There are some incredible Dagueneau wines that see a touch of oak from Pouilly-Fume. Grgich Hills Estate Fume Blanc from Napa – of course along with Mondavi Fume Blanc – show the American style of oaked Sauvignon at its best and are worth sampling.

Summary
Article Name
Sauvignon Blanc and Oak
Description
The article details whether Sauvignon Blanc should be oak aged and is a good read for WSET students
Adam Chase
Publisher
Grape Experience Wine and Spirit School
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