Blanc Fumé

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A grape varietal used in the production of white wine. Thought to have originated in the Loire and Bordeaux regions of France, it is also grown in the United States (primarily California), Italy, Australia, South America, Argentina, and Chile. Now a trademark varietal of New Zealand. New Zealand Blanc Fumé exhibit fruity characteristics in high quality. Although Blanc Fumé varietal produces wines of distinction, they are, generally, reasonably priced. The pricier wines come from Château Haut-Brion and Domaine De Chevalier. California produces a varietal wine labeled Blanc Fumé in varying styles, from crisp and unoaked to oak aged Sémillon blends. A small amount of Sémillon rounds out the taste and improves the structure, enabling wine to age for decades. Bordeaux wines are typically blended with Sémillon, dry, and oak aged. France's 100% varietal wines are notably the best and produced in the Loire region at Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé (crisp and tart, can have flinty hints). The varietal is a minor player in Sauternes blends.

Also known as: Sauvignon Blanc, Fumé Blanc, Sauvignon Jaune, and Sauvignon Musqué.

Characteristics: Styles can vary widely. Wines made with the Blanc Fumé varietal are typically crisp, fresh, light, fruity, with a hint of spice, and olives. Styles vary widely, from sweet to dry. The varietal form of Blanc Fumé exhibits hints of green apple and gooseberry. Warmer climate Blanc Fumé tends to be citrusy, with tastes of lemon, grapefruit, and mellon. Also have grassy, cool, herbal tones. Oak ageing adds to the vanilla and spice characteristics.

Ageing: Oak ageing adds to depth but only for a short period, it can become over powered. Best if drunk young, especially dry styles.

Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 40º-45º F.

Food pairings: Appetizers, artichokes, asparagus, Cajun fish, cannelloni with ricotta, mild cheeses, poultry seasoned with garlic, grilled poultry, stir-fry poultry, chicken chow mein, egg rolls, Chinese cuisine with shrimp, sushi with hirame or sole, vegetable couscous, crab cakes, Creole, crudités, dolmas, deviled eggs, escargots, fish with lemon, spanakopita, guacamole, gyoza, hummus, fish Tandoori, samosas, pakoras, nicoise, oriental dishes with peanut sauce, pasta, seafood pasta, vegetable pasta, vegetable paté, poultry paté, roasted peppers, barbecue pork, pan fried pork, prawns, Caesar salad, Greek salads, salad with vinaigrette dressing, light seafood, shellfish, spinach soufflé, southwestern cuisine, black pepper, oregano, garlic, spinach, Thai cuisine, and turkey served with sweet side dishes (i.e.: cranberries).

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