- Probably in Bordeaux region
- Parent of red grape Cabernet Sauvignon (established by DNA analysis)
- Vigorous plant, so can be too leafy and overproductive
- Aromas and flavours described as: herbaceous, grassy and nettley; Gooseberries; but can also show more tropical fruits such as white peach and guava; "Cat’s pee"
- To be drunk young (unless oaked and expensive or Pouilly-Fumé)
- Vinification needs to be as clean and simple as possible in order to preserve freshness.
- Vinification and maturation usually in stainless steel tanks. SB can also be matured in oak barrels.
Homelands within France
- Large quantities of SB planted. Wine often undistinguished as a varietal but SB is key ingredient in blends with Sémillon
- Dry: Graves and Pessac Léognan. Sweet: Sauternes and Barsac
- The Central vineyards, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, plus satellite appellations: Menetou-Salon, Quincy & Reuilly. Here SB has classic style and flavour. Key is white chalk and clay soils
- Also Touraine and all over the Loire valley
Also to be found in
- France: Very widely planted throughout France, e.g. Sauvignon de St. Bris, S.W. France, for example Bergerac; Languedoc: Vin de Pays (Note: from warmer climates in the south SB tends to be rounder, slightly sweeter and less crisp)
- N.E. Italy, esp. Friuli
- Austria: Styria in the south
- New Zealand: the Definitive New World style, though first wines bottled only in 1974. Widely planted but most successful in Marlborough, home to 2/3 of plantings. Cool climate and sharp draining soils
- South Africa: First planted in 18thC. Recent success, esp. in cooler or higher sites, e.g. Bamboes Bay, Cederberg, Elgin and Cape Agulhas. Cape style between Loire and NZ
- Australia: Few real successes; too hot
- California: Often blended and/or oak aged: "Blanc Fumé" style
- Chile: Formerly less varietal character as often inadvertently mixed with Sauvignonasse, a related but lesser grape; now excellent results
Now one of the most popular grapes in the Uk market - perhaps because so recognisable a style.