Sauvignon Blanc is most probably the crossing of Traminer x Chenin Blanc. As a varietal, it is particularly popular in the Steiermark, and was originally introduced into the region in the 19th Century by the archduke Erzherzog Johann

Origin

France, the Loire

Parentage

probably natural crossing of Traminer x Chenin Blanc

Vineyard area

1,691.67 ha; 3.8%

Origin

This variety was introduced in Steiermark in the 19th century by Archduke Johann. At that time, it was known as Muskat-Sylvaner.

Parentage

The former name (Muskat-Sylvaner) is no longer permitted for use, as it is misleading. There is no relation to any Muscat or Sylvaner varieties, moreover, the Sauvignon Blanc has no Muscat aroma

Vineyard area

In Austria, growth trippled between 1999 and 2020 and continues to increase in Niederösterreich, Burgenland and Steiermark.

A picture shows grapes from the grape variety Sauvignon Blanc.
© Austrian Wine / Oberleithner

Important ampelographic features

Leaf

circular with five lobes, corrugated edge, round arch-shaped teeth, very hairy underside

Grape cluster

small, dense grapes; cylindrical; shouldered; round to oval greenish-yellow berries with spicy, herbal-grassy flavours

Ripening

Ripening

very early
early
early to middle
middle
middle to late
late
very late

Significance & conditions

In Steiermark as well as in Burgenland and Niederösterreich, outstanding top-quality wines with great aging potential are produced.This variety needs good sites, but with rather meagre soils. It is a robust variety that requires leaf maintenance. The methoxypyrazine (pepper and green pepper aromas) and marcaptane (scents of grapefruit, passion fruit and black currants) are very photosensitive and can be reduced significantly by measures such as defoliation around the grape zone.  These photosensitive aromas are responsible for the characteristic smell and taste. The thicker the leaves are during the ripening period, the higher is the methoxypyrazine content. The grower can influence this content according to the time of partial defoliation - if a green, vegetal expression of the variety is wanted or not. Sauvignon blanc is highly prone to peronospora and oidium.

 

Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)

Click on the wine origin in the list for a breakdown into more specific regions of origin.

Total area in Austria: 1,691.67 ha

A picture shows a hand holding a glass of white wine.
© Austrian Wine / Blickwerk Fotografie

Characteristics of the wine

Grown worldwide, this variety has a characteristic bouquet, which can be intrusively unripe and grassy when the grapes are not fully ripe. When the grapes have good ripeness, they develop complex aromas of black currants, gooseberries and tropical fruit. The wines develop – according to the level of maturity – from discreet to very complex. The complex versions have wonderful ageing potential especially from malolactic fermentation and barrique maturation. When the grapes are very ripe, the complex aromas retreat and a powerful, spicy wine unfolds.

Source varietal specifications: Höhere Bundeslehranstalt und Bundesamt für Wein- und Obstbau (Federal College and Federal Office for Viticulture, Oenology and Fruit Growing) in Klosterneuburg, “Austria’s Qualitätswein grape varieties and their clones“ („Österreichische Qualitätsweinrebsorten und deren Klone“), 2nd, reviewed edition, September 2015

Source area under vine: Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism according to IACS (as at 31 May 2022)

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