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Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most well known, popular, and distinctive varieties. Its base in the Old World is still strong, producing the famous wines of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume in the Loire Valley as well as much of southwest France, including Bordeaux where it is thought to have originated as a result of a spontaneous field crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon. Within the appellations of Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers, it makes fine dry whites, blended with Semillon, Muscadelle and Ugni Blanc. However its importance is not to be overlooked in neighboring Sauternes helping form some of the world's most sought after dessert wines. On the other side of the world New Zealand's association with the grape has become so strong the two are almost synonymous. On the whole they tend to be bolder with more pungent exotic aromas that their European counterparts. It is also cultivated to a large extent in South Africa, Chile, Australia, and California. Initially coined and marketed by Robert Mondavi as Fume Blanc, the Californian versions were aged in a little oak in order to tame the grassy quality, although now Fume Blancs may refer to unoaked Sauvignon too. Common tasting notes include, grass, gooseberries, lemon, and grapefruit from cooler regions. Riper, sweeter fruit notes such as melons, figs and pears are found in warmer climate renditions. Careful oak ageing can develop more weight and complexity, sometimes displaying tropical mandarin and stone fruit.
After returning to a democracy and free market economy in the 1980s, it was, as if out of nowhere that Chile re-entered the international wine scene. Its geography protects the viticultural industry with 3,000 miles of coastline to the west, the Andes mountains to the east, the Atacama desert to the north, and the Antarctic to the south. Free from most pests, including Phylloxera (which has ravaged vines throughout the world), most producers have no need to spray any pesticides, making it quite easy to farm organically. A significant amount of production is located within the central valley, which stretches from the Maipo valley, the closest wine region to Santiago, south 155 miles to the Maule Valley. The most popular wines are those made from Cabernet Sauvignon, which prospers in the Mediterranean and accounts for over 50% of the countries dark skinned varietals. Carmenere has now been firmly marketed as the countries signature grape. While its plantings are increasing rapidly, it currently accounts for just under 9000 hectares or 12% of all red grapes. Areas showing potential for growth and diversity are Elqui and Limari to the far north and the two coastal regions of Casablanca and San Antonio, all of which are carving out their niche for cool climate varieties including Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
Chianti is the sub-region of Tuscany located between Florence to the north and Siena to the south. Wine made within the eight historical zones is labelled Chianti Classico and must be made with a minimum 80% Sangiovese and is often topped up with Canaiolo, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as two white grapes, Trebbiano and Malvasia. With its many small, picturesque rolling hills, aspect and soil types vary significantly, even within a single estate. Any wine made by a member of the Consorzio (wine-growers association) is bottled wearing the recognizable black rooster "Gallo Nero" seal around the neck of the bottle.
White wine is a wine whose color can be pale-yellow, yellow-green, and yellow-gold colored. The wine is produced from a variety of grape varieties. The flavor and color comes from the juice of the grape and sometimes the skin of the grape as well. Interestingly, not all white wine comes from white grapes. Some select red grapes are used as in Champagne.