A whited blend first created by winemakers in the southern communes of Bordeaux in France. Sauvignon blanc adds potent tropical fruits and high acidity, while semillon brings weight and texture to create medium-bodied, complex dry white wine.
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. In general though, sauvignon blanc is known as a fruit forward drop. Less ripe fruit will offer up light flavours of lime and green apple, while ripened fruit will bring notes of white peach and passionfruit. But what separates sauvignon blanc from the rest of the white wine crowd is its herbaceousness – be on alert for hints of green capsicum, jalapeno, celery and buffalo grass.
The terms ‘sweet’ and ‘dry’ have confused many a wine drinker 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.
The fruit and herb notes of sauvignon blanc hint at the best dishes with which to pair it. We’re talking seasonal fruits, green salads, and any fresh dish that is heavy on the herbs. Seafood is a winner – oysters, prawns and lightly grilled fish go particularly well – making Mediterranean cuisine an ideal tablemate. But the king of sauv blanc food pairings is undoubtedly cheese, with goat varieties a firm favourite. Other perfect pairings can be found in brie, sharp cheddar, double Gloucester, and dry jack.
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.