2012 #SauvBlanc Day

Kailash Gurnani

Today, June 21 is International #SauvBlanc Day 2012.

I asked Kailash Gurnani, winemaker at York Winery in Nasik, to give us a little education in this green skinned grape variety. Kailash has spent four and a half years studying winemaking in Australia and completed his Bachelor of Oenology degree from the University of Adelaide. Prior to joining the family winery business, he worked at Hardys Tintara and Domaine Chandon in Australia and then 3 months in Cyprus. This 23-year-old is possibly India’s youngest qualified winemaker and goes by @desiwinemaker on twitter.





Sauvignon blanc grapes | Pic credit: Wikipedia

The Sauvignon Blanc:

The recent success of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand has brought this French wine grape variety back in fashion. This is one of those varieties that requires a minimalistic winemaking approach. It is also a very delicate grape variety and wine to handle in the winery. However, the right approach and care at the right time can give great results. Some producers around the world ferment this wine in oak barrels while the majority stick to fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The barrel ferment technique method of making Sauvignon Blanc has for some reason not yet found its way to India. Perhaps because this is not yet a very popular wine in India.

Sauvignon Blancs (SBL) mostly have green herbaceous (this is a characteristic flavour of SBL) or sweet tropical flavours. Very few winemakers aim for the excessively herbaceous style with some of the best SBLs from the world being more tropical, fresh and elegant.

SBL in India:

SBL hasn’t gained a strong following in India yet. (It is a slow moving wine). Most of the wines the county has had in the past were more on the green/herbaceous side. This was partly due to poor vineyard management, high yields, excess crop load and early harvesting. However with time and better knowledge of Indian viticulture & climate, we’ve been able to make wines with better balance and more ripe tropical flavours.

It is typical for some SBL wines in India to have high alcohol content. The quest to achieve ripe tropical flavours in the vineyard sometimes results in higher alcohol wines. (Also, because of the onset of summer, the ripening of the grapes gets accelerated towards the end. So too ripe = too much sugar = high alcohol in wine.)

SauvBlanc 2012 at York: 

This year at York, I have tried to stay away from aggressive herbaceous flavours as it can make the wine repulsive. Keeping in mind the potential alcohol content in the final wine, the grapes were allowed to stay in the vineyard a little longer with some sun exposure in the canopy. This helped me achieve floral and tropical flavours on the nose with subtle herbaceous characters coming through on the palate.

Join the festivities:

When you uncork your SauvBlanc today, tweet with the hashtag #SauvBlanc. For more information http://2012sauvblancday.eventbrite.com/