Sauvignon Blanc by another name is... Fumé blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc is Australia’s most popular white wine. It’s also New Zealand’s biggest white wine export. Coincidence?

Quick Guide

Sauvignon Blanc

What is it?

A crisp, dry, slightly acidic white wine designed to be consumed upon purchase rather than laid down for any period.

Where's it from?

The Sauvignon Blanc grape originated from France but is now grown throughout the new world including Australia and New Zealand. Served chilled with seafood.

What does it taste like?

Quite distinct from other white wines, Sauvignon Blanc delivers citrus, passionfruit and even herby, grassy flavours. It is dry and quite acidic and works best

Tip

Sauvignon Blanc is generally designed to be consumed upon purchase or within a year or so. There's no need to let it mature as this will potentially develop 'vegetalaromas' of asparagus and pea - not quite what you're looking for in a nice glass of wine after a hard day at work.

Sauvignon Blanc history

We all know (and love) it as Sauvignon Blanc, but good old Sav Blanc goes under the alias of Fumé Blanc in California and is extremely well known as Sancerre in France. Whatever you call it, Sauvignon Blanc is Australia’s most popular (highest selling) white wine. And it’s our favourite tipple for a very good reason. It’s quite frankly delicious.

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc is another old world import to new world wine territories, originating in the Bordeaux and the Loire Valley regions in France. The green Sauvignon blanc grape is used to produce not only the famous dry, crisp and refreshing wine of the same name but, when (deliberately) affected by botrytis or noble rot, is also a component in sweet dessert wines such as Sauternes.
 
 
 

Australian Sauvignon Blanc regions

Sauvignon Blanc is produced in many countries around the world, notably Australia, New Zealand, North America, Chile and South Africa in the new world as well as the traditional old world regions of France, Italy and Spain.

Ideally, it needs a cooler climate to allow the grape to develop a balance between its sugar and acidity levels. In Australia, the most popular Sauvignon Blanc-growing regions are the Adelaide Hills in SA, Margaret River in WA, the Goulburn and King Valleys in Victoria, Tasmania and even Orange in NSW.
In the Adelaide Hills, as well as the McLaren Vale and Coonawarra regions of South Australia, Sauvignon Blancs are produced as a single varietal, renowned for their tropical fruit flavours and relatively low acidity. In Margaret River, Sav Blanc grapes are often blended with Semillon, delivering robust Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (SSB) wines with lemony, herbal flavours. 
 

Sauvignon Blanc flavour

Depending on the climate of the region in which it’s grown, Sauvignon Blanc flavours range from the acidic, grassy, ‘green’ notes of a cold climate wine, to tropical fruit flavours from vineyards in warmer, more temperate environments.

Of similar importance is the soil – or terroir – in which the grapes are grown. French winemakers believe the soil imparts very different flavours: gravel soil produces spicy, mineral flavours for example, whilst chalky soil produces more perfumed wine. New Zealand vintners in particular have embraced this approach, and believe the sandy soil of many Marlborough vineyards impart herbaceous and tropical flavours depending on the vines’ situation.
In general, Australian Sauvignon Blancs deliver ripe, fruity flavours of peaches and lime and have a lower acidity. New Zealand Sav Blancs are known for their more acidic, herbal-scented wines with passionfruit, kiwi and gooseberry notes.
 

Sauvignon Blanc food matching

Whilst some would argue that there’s no need to match Sauvignon Blanc with anything, it’s perfectly quaffable all by itself thank you very much, there are in fact plenty of food  matching options. The first cab off the rank is seafood, particularly oysters. Even sushi works with Sav Blanc, but make sure the wine’s quite chilled – around 7° is perfect.
Cheeses also pair particularly well with the crisp, tart white, especially goat’s cheese. The acidity of the wine cuts through the fattiness of the cheese, marrying the flavours perfectly.
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