Savagnin Blanc is a green grape* with a not completely clear origin.
Savagnin Blanc is a thick skinned, low yielding variety that is harvested late in the season in order to give it time to develop as high sugar levels as possible.
The variety is mostly known for being the only kind of grape permitted in Vin Jaune of France’s Jura region.
The production process means that the wine is allowed to oxidise in
order to result in a nutty, full bodied wine that is good for ageing.
A very nice pairing for a Vin Jaune will be a cream based dish with fish or chicken. If you can get hold of a cheese from Jura, the Comté cheese it might be an even better choice. The wine is best served at 13–15°C/55–60°F. It can be a good idea expose the wine to air for some fifteen to thirty minutes before serving.
Where is it grown?
Savagnin Blanc’s heartland is in Hungary in central-eastern Europe, especially in the northern highland region Mátraalja and the north-western region Mór
- Hungary 772 ha/1,908 ac, MPG 30
- France 483 ha/1,193 ac (an increase with 17%), MPG 73
- Slovenia 215 ha/531 ac, MPG 18
- Russia 214 ha/529 ac, MPG 24
Six countries, Australia, Switzerland, Romania, Argentina, Croatia, and Canada, report plantings of between 100-1 ha/ 249-2,5 ac (sorted in order of decreasing acreage).
There are several stories as to where Savagnin Blanc has originated. It is clearly of central European origin, but whether this was in north-eastern or south-eastern France, Switzerland or south-western Germany remains unclear. Furthermore, few varieties seem to have been so confused with other varieties as Savagnin Blanc. Out of the more than one-hundred synonyms, no less than thirty-eight are used for naming other varieties as well.
This also means that it is difficult to know when it was first documented, as it depends on which of the origins you believe is the correct one. However, regardless of which, it is an old variety that goes back at least five-hundred years.
*The name Savagnin Blanc is also used as a synonym for another variety (the French grape Sauvignon Blanc), which has no known connection to the grape presented here.