Refreshing with lively acidity and an illustrious array of aromatics, Sauvignon Blanc showcases an impressive range of styles from an equally diverse collection of international wine growing regions. This super food-friendly, white wine grape is a must-have for all sorts of challenging veggies ranging from artichoke to asparagus and tough-to-pair summer salads.
Sauvignon Blanc's Regional Roots
Sauvignon Blanc originated in the Loire Valley of northwest France (where it is often labeled regionally as "Sancerre" or "Pouilly-Fume" - both place names). Today Sauvignon Blanc may be found in many international wine regions with California and Chile producing some top-notch offerings. However, New Zealand has taken this grape to new heights in the cool Marlborough region, producing racy wines with its signature grapefruit nose and full of citrus flavors. This white wine is widely available as a single varietal bottling and is typically ready to drink upon release, meant to be enjoyed sooner rather than later. In Bordeaux, the grape is often bottled and labeled as "Bordeaux Blanc," and is frequently blended with Semillon, especially from the lower Graves district on the proverbial Left Bank. This regional blend takes Sauvignon Blanc's high-flying acidity and blends it with the relatively lower acid, and fuller-body of Semillon, resulting in a range of wines that leverages the strengths of both grapes to bolster the short-comings of the complementary grape.
Australia's well-known Margaret River region also benchmarks on the back of the Bordeaux-inspired blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon to create compelling regional wines that highlight forward fruit, along with plenty of depth and dimension.
Sauvignon Blanc Flavors and Aromas - What to Expect
In general, Sauvignon Blanc, also known as Fumé Blanc, is usually a dry white wine with powerful aromatics ranging from juicy citrus to distinctive herbaceous aromas often leaning into the sweet smell of fresh cut grass and dried Italian herbs. Typically weighing in with a light to medium-bodied, this crisp and refreshing white wine with remarkable, high-level acidity, offers a fairly wide range of flavors and aromas. Typically characterized by clean, pure lines, cooler growing regions, like the Loire Valley, Marlborough, and parts of coastal Chile, usually reveal more citrus and grassy aromatics, while warmer climates show richer fruit profiles on the nose and palate with melon, peach, pineapple and other tropical themes taking center stage.
Best Bets for Sauvignon Blanc & Food
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most food-friendly wines around, completely capable of hanging with trickier veggie-based dishes, bringing out the best in all sorts of fancy cheese finds (though goat cheese or chevre is a particular friend), and making significant headway with any recipe calling for fresh herbs. Its innate acidity acts like a zesty squeeze of lemon when partnered with the briny flavors of oysters, shrimp or mussels. Keep Sauvignon Blanc in mind for veggie dips, garlic seasoned fare, savory Greek or Caesar salads, plenty of poultry picks and much more.
Key Producers to Try
- Chile - Casa Lapostolle, Casa Silva, Concha Y Toro, Cono Sur, DeMartino, Los Vascos, Ritual, Veramonte, Vina Maipo
- France - Domaine Cherrier, Franck Millet, Henri Bourgeois, Lucien Crochet, Pascal Jolivet, Patient Cottat
- New Zealand - Astrolabe, Brancott, Cloudy Bay, Craggy Range, Dog Point, Giesen, Kim Crawford, Nautilus, Nobilo, Robert Oatley, Villa Maria
- United States - Angeline, Cakebread, Chateau St. Jean, Grgich Hills, Hall, Kalinda, Robert Mondavi, St. Supery,