Year in, year out, France enjoys its prestigious reputation as the producer of the finest wines in the world. With a wine making history which spans several thousand years and owes its expertise to the Romans, it comes as little surprise that this most highly esteemed of the Old World wine countries continues to impress and enchant both novices and experts to this day. Despite the rise in quality of wines from neighboring European countries, not to mention the New World, the French wine industry continues to boom, with up to eight billion bottles being produced in recent years. However, France prides itself on always putting quality before quantity, and the wide range in fine produce is a testament to the dedication and knowledge of the wineries across the country. Indeed, from rich and complex reds to light and aromatic white wines, French wines are as varied and interesting as they are enjoyable to drink, making this country a firm favorite for wine lovers across the globe. The green skinned grapes of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal had their origins in Southern France, where they are still widely grown and used for many of the excellent young and aged white wines the region is famous for. Today, however, they are grown in almost every wine producing country in the world, and are widely revered for their fresh and grassy flavors, full of tropical notes and refreshing, zesty character. Sauvignon Blanc grapes thrive best in moderate climates, and ripen relatively early in the year. This has made them a favorite for many wineries in the New World, where they can still produce healthy and high yields in the earlier part of the summer before the temperatures become too hot. Too much heat has a massively adverse effect on Sauvignon Blanc, as the grapes become dull in their flavor, and the wine produced from them loses all its unique character and high points. As such, Sauvignon Blanc farmers have had a lot of trouble from global warming and climate change, as they are being forced to harvest their crops increasingly earlier in the year when it is cool enough to do so.
Americans are developing an increasing fondness for the prominent white grape of the Bordeaux and Eastern Loire Valley of France, partially because of its versatility in matching with food, and certainly as a result of its relative affordability. The varietal is sometimes associated with the grape Semillon, with which it is often blended. Sauvignon Blanc, when grown in a moderately cool region, can range from lean, austere and tart, to the opposite extreme of rich, complex and powerful. Its inherent flavors, which are often accented when grown in warmer regions, are a lemony citrus or grapefruit quality, with melon-like fruit, often combined with an herbal or grassy component. The Semillon can add a rich, "waxy", almost lanolin texture, with similar fruit flavors. America's best Sauvignon Blancs, with or without the addition of Semillon, are being produced in Washington, the Napa Valley, Sonoma Country, Santa Barbara County and Texas.