Sauvignon Gris grapes
Can you say which came first? The chicken or the egg…. A similar confusion is present about the fact as to which came first Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon Gris.
Believed by most to be the predecessor varietal of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris is a wine grape variety with a pinkish, hued skin.
Due to the presence of this pinkish hue it is often referred to as Sauvignon Rose̒. It is predominantly imported in Bordeaux and Chile along with Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon vert cuttings. Owing to the fact that it is mostly non aromatic it is often used for blending purpose.
Despite being one of the costliest varieties at one point they became extinct due to the ridiculously low yield of the grapes.
However, at present it is again being grown in the Graves region of Bordeaux. This is a mutated version of Sauvignon Blanc, which is known by names like Fie̒ or Fie̒t.
History of Sauvignon grapes
Sauvignon Gris is by guess the least acknowledged grape in the whole of Bordeaux’s vineyards.
These species had become almost extinct due to the Phylloxera infestation.
Also know by the name Grape Phylloxera, this epidemic was caused due to microscopic, pale yellow sap sucking insects which fed on the roots and leaves of the grapevines.
This resulted to deformation of the roots and secondary fungal infection in the roots, cutting off the nutrient and water supply to the vines.
It was not until Jacky Preys, a breeder and vintner from the Loire valley, again rediscovered these species did they come into existence again.
He was one of those very few producers who made wine by making use of 100% pure Sauvignon Gris only.
Viticulture and winemaking for Sauvignon Gris
Sauvignon Gris is generally the fruit which is the foremost to be harvested at the commencement of the wine harvesting season.
This is so because these grapes are an early maturing variety. Although the berries are thick skinned and distinctly coloured in red and pink hue yet the inner portion as well as the liquor produced is white.
This variety is only used in the production of white wine. These grapes have high sugar content, good acridness and a great concentration of flavour.
Characteristics of Sauvignon Gris
Although less aromatic yet the Sauvignon variety is more elegant than its Blanc cousins. The wine produced is also richer and more voluptuous in nature.
They give the flavour of fruits like mango and melon and also a citrus tinge. The wine produced is usually dry and has a herbaceous note to it which is a typical characteristic of the Sauvignon family.
Certain giants in this trade use this varietal in the Bordeaux Blanc mixtures. Chateau Haut Brion, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte and Chateau Pape Clement employ different amount of Sauvignon Gris for their wine blends.
As a matter of fact up till 5% of Gris is utilized for the preparation of Pape Clement Blanc by Pape Clement. Some vintage wines use Gris in their blends as well in as 30% by volume.
About 20%of the Sauvignon Gris is grown in the vineyards of Chateau Fombrauge. However the highest percentage of plantation is found in Chateau Puygueraud where an area of 4 hectares has bundle of vines with Sauvignon Gris occupying 55% of the area.
The second largest plantation of this varietal is Chateau La Grade where 50% of the vines are Gris. In California Chalk hills make wine from 100% Sauvignon Gris.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂