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Fumé Blanc: another name, another style of Sauvignon Blanc

on 28/04/11 at 10:10 am


If you ever spend time perusing wine labels, you’ve probably seen a few bottles of Fumé Blanc shelved in stores alongside California Sauvignon Blancs. Have you wondered if the Fumé Blanc is made from a different grape or perhaps a blend?

It isn’t. In fact, the name “Fumé Blanc” was made up in the 1960s by Robert Mondavi to market Sauvignon Blanc.

Mondavi, founder of Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, Calif., writes in his book “Harvests of Joy” that much of the Sauvignon Blanc being grown in the United States at that time was of poor quality. As a result, the wine had a bad reputation. When one of his winery’s growers produced a good crop, Mondavi decided to age the wine in French oak barrels. He hoped to produce a wine similar to the Sauvignon Blanc produced in France’s Loire Valley, including the popular Pouilly-Fumé.

He wrote that his winery decided to “Americanize” the wine and call it Fumé Blanc. The first bottles were released in 1968.

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