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Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Fume Blanc vs. Sauvignon Blanc
Fume Blanc vs. Sauvignon Blanc

Welcome to the One Stop’s Wine 101 where short bits of information on styles of wine, sales offering or pairing tips are shared to the Fremont County wine community. Enjoy!

White wines are starting to come back in style, however, those that are driving that change are not the wine of your parents. Chardonnay still languishes but Sauvignon Blanc is absolutely seeing resurgence due to its incredible drinkability and versatility. The prices points are also helping drive the category because there are simply fantastic wines for under $20!

The wine world is known for not being simple and when/where possible, this industry really likes to go against conventional thought. This grape is not immune to this discussion point. In fact, did you know there is also a wine in the market called Fume Blanc? Did you know that Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc are actually the same wine?

It’s true - Fume Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are the same grape and thus, the same wine but there are subtle differences in how they are handled. Robert Mondavi is responsible for this occurrence as he once traveled the Loire Valley of France and was fascinated with the wines of this region and they were named Blanc Fume (but were made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape). Being a shrewd business man (and having access to large amounts of Sauvignon Blanc grapes at his disposal) he came up with an idea of bring new life into a grape/wine that he could not sell. His idea – simple change the name of the French wine Blanc Fume to the American version name Fume Blanc. Poof, he separated himself from the crowded wine scene and amazingly, it worked. The wines took off and the rest is history.

However, because the wine world wants to be difficult, there are some subtle differences from time to time between the two names of the Sauvignon Blanc wine. The primary difference comes after the wine has been produced and how it is aged. Fume Blanc is a Sauvignon Blanc that is typically aged in oak barrels after fermentation while Sauvignon Blanc is traditionally aged in stainless steel vats after fermentation. The result is Fume Blanc might have a slight amount more body than that of Sauvignon Blanc, which is known to be fruity, clean and bright on the palate. Besides that, these wines are almost identical in character, drinkability and price point. These wines pair fantastically with fruit, salad dishes and fish but also pair really good with foods you might not otherwise think of – spicy dishes, Asian food, grilled chicken dishes or even heavier pasta dishes that feature cheeses over tomato sauce. If you have not had the opportunity to try Sauvignon Blanc then you are missing out! There are lots of great wines in all price points that will surely impress even the person that swears they don’t like white wine. Give them a try - you will not be Disappointed! Cheers!

WINE 101
WINE 101

Written by: Ron Hansen


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