The Inspiration Behind Flowstone Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc
We all know of or at some stage have tasted Sauvignon Blanc, especially those bright and fresh aromatic styles, which are perfect to drink today. But, Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety with a significant history and much diversity in the way it is made. I’ve adopted a particular style, some like to call it serious Sauvignon Blanc which is more like the fine drops found in France than those in New Zealand. Let me explain some of the inspiration behind my Flowstone Sauvignon Blanc.
History of Sauvignon Blanc
With its acknowledged home in France, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is thought to have originated in south west France, and possibly a descendent of the grape Savagnin (that sounds familiar!!). Over the years, it has spread to most winemaking parts of the world, including France, Chile, Romania, South Africa United States, Australia, of course New Zealand, and others. The name actually translates to “wild white.”
Given its extensive history, it is only after the experimental plantings in New Zealand in the 1970’s that lead to its incredible current popularity. These plantings were to trial it in blends with Müller-Thurgau, popular in that part of the world then, but perhaps a little boring. The Sauvignon Blanc would give it more flavour and personality. It was in the 1990’s that the kiwi Sauvignon Blancs really took off, and introduced the variety to many wine drinkers all over the world.
The grapes are a moderately early ripening variety, which means it can perform well in many climates. In the cooler climates, like Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé it makes wines of restraint, elegance and minerality with focus. In the warmer climates it delivers riper stonefruits of peach, nectarine and feijoa. This does mean there is an enormous variety of styles from around the world, from serious and elegant wines, to bright fruity, drink now styles.
Typically, the wines are made in stainless steel tanks to retain the bright freshness of the wine. The more serious styles are fermented in oak barrels (of various ages and sizes), which helps to deliver texture, restraint and dimension to the wine. In fact, the term Fumé Blanc originated from Robert Mondavi in the 1970’s and related to the smoky character of the oak, and a “subtle” reference to the home of Sauvignon Blanc – Pouilly Fumé.
Of course, in Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is typically blended with Semillon to make the wonderful dry whites, and dessert wines of the region. This blend is also home in Margaret River.
Most of us are familiar with the bright fresh, Summer drinking style of Sauvignon Blanc, but there are some wonderfully serious wines out there. Wines with dimension, intensity of flavour, complexity and texture. It is these serious wines, typically from Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, that the Flowstone Sauvignon Blanc wines are inspired by.
Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc
When I first moved to Margaret River in 1983 to work on my parent’s vineyard, they had Sauvignon Blanc planted. So my connection to the varietal is long term. I am passionate about those lovely sophisticated wines it can make. It led me on a mission to produce one of Australia’s finest Sauvignon Blanc, one that can be taken seriously alongside the great wines of the world.
2020 was a particularly special vintage here in Margaret River. It was a particularly tough year due to the hailstorms that hit Margaret River in October 2019. Take a listen to story and how this magnificent vintage came about.
Sound delicious? Try the new vintage for yourself. I hope you can enjoy this wine as much as I do.