Sauvignon blanc is a dry, acidic and fruity white that can be a bit of a chameleon on the palate. It’s what winemakers call ‘terroir expressive’, meaning its flavours are affected by things like the soil, the climate, the ripeness of the grape and the farming practices it’s exposed to. This can mean that one sauv blanc can taste quite different to another grown just over the hill.
Australia produces sublime sauvignon blanc. This is a grape suited to cool yet sunny conditions which explains why plantings in elevated areas, such as Adelaide Hills and Orange, or with water breezes, such as Margaret River and Tasmania do so well. Of course, local climate, conditions and winemaker craft influence the characteristics of each region. For example, Adelaide Hills is known for ripe tropical favour with crisp acidity while Margaret River wines are often blended with semillon to create brighter styles with more citrus.
Tasting characteristics typically include passionfruit, grapefruit, gooseberry and cut grass, often described with feisty language like 'bold', vibrant' and 'hits of fruit'. Winemakers also produce richer, more medium bodied styles by applying methods such as ageing or barrel fermentation.
What food pairs best with sauvignon blanc?
With Australia's climate and cuisine, it's no surprise such a refreshing wine features everywhere from BBQ BYO bags to awarded wine lists. Pair it with seafood, as well as lighter meats such as white fish, chicken and pork. Its classic partner is an earthy Chevre cheese and it's literally 'sensational' with crisp vegetables or leaves, so you can't go wrong with a goat cheese salad with lemon herb dressing.
Is sauvignon blanc sweet or dry?
The terms ‘sweet’ and ‘dry’ have confused many wine drinkers over the years. While sauvignon blanc has a naturally fruity taste, it’s important not to confuse fruity with sweet. It is considered a dry wine, as unlike dessert wines most sauv blancs have zero residual sugar added to them, while the few that do only ever have a gram or two (the threshold for a wine to be classified as sweet is generally five grams of residual sugar). So, while you’ll certainly taste the natural fruitiness of the wine, it is classed as dry.
How does sauvignon blanc differ from whites like chardonnay or riesling?
The colour, aroma and taste of sauvignon blanc is quite different to other common Australian whites. Place a glass of sauvignon blanc next to a chardonnay or riesling and you’ll notice that it has the lightest colour of the lot, often a faint lemon-green. Unlike the colour, the aroma of sauvignon blanc is noticeably intense compared to its stablemates, featuring a sharp citrusy edge that’ll jab at the nostrils. Finally the fresh, crisp and acidic sauvignon blanc is lighter-bodied than the stone-fruit flavours of riesling and the oakiness of chardonnay.