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About Sauvignon Blanc Wine – Taste, Regions and Food Pairing

Written by Madeline Puckette

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that owes much of its popularity to winemakers in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France. The Sauvignon Blanc taste is very different from other white wines, like Chardonnay, because of its green and herbaceous flavors. The name Sauvignon Blanc means “Wild White” and the grape is related to Traminer with origins in the South of France. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted wine grapes in the world and because of this it has a wide range of styles and flavors. Below we will investigate the fundamentals of its taste, learn the regions where its produced and get a few creative ideas for food pairings.

Sauvignon Blanc Taste Profile by Ripeness

Sauvignon Blanc Taste

The primary fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc are lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. Depending on how ripe the grapes are when the wine is made, the flavor will range from zesty lime to flowery peach. What makes Sauvignon Blanc unique from other white wines are its other herbaceous flavors like bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry and grass. These flavors come from aromatic compounds called pyrazines and are the secret to Sauvignon Blanc’s taste.

Is Sauvignon Blanc a dry wine?

Most Sauvignon Blanc wines are made completely dry, although a few producers in regions like New Zealand and California have been known to leave a gram or two of residual sugar to add a richer texture. Want to see a visual of how much sugar is in wine?

Find out how Sauvignon Blanc tastes different than Chardonnay in..
Sauvignon Blanc vs. Chardonnay

Sauvignon Blanc Wine and Grapes

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Characteristics

FRUIT FLAVORS (berries, fruit, citrus)
Lime, Green Apple, Asian Pear, Kiwi, Passionfruit, Guava, White Peach, Nectarine
OTHER AROMAS (herb, spice, flower, mineral, earth, other)
Green Bell Pepper, Gooseberry, Basil, Jalapeño, Grass, Tarragon, Lovage, Celery, Lemongrass, Box of Chalk, Wet Concrete
OAK FLAVORS (flavors added with oak aging)
Vanilla, Pie Crust, Dill, Coconut, Butter, Nutmeg, Cream
Medium – Medium High
Unoaked: 46 ºF (8 ºC)
Oaked: 52 ºF (11 ºC)
Verdejo, Albariño, Colombard, Grüner Veltliner, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Tocai Friulano, Savignan (rare), Traminer, Sauvignon Vert (rare)
Fumé Blanc (USA), Muskat-Silvaner (Austria), Feigentraube (Germany), Sauvignon (Italy)
Sauvignon Blanc is commonly blended with Semillon and Muscadelle in White Bordeaux

Did you know that Sauvignon Blanc is the parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon?

Where does Sauvignon Blanc come from?

New World vs Old World Sauvignon Blanc
2 very different styles of Sauvignon Blanc produced nearly 11,000 miles away from one another.

Old World Regions

France: 71,000 acres
Found mostly in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. Also known as Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, Graves, Entre-Deux-Mers, and Touraine.
Italy: 45,000 est. acres
Found primarily in Northeastern Italy.
Spain: 6,200 acres
Grown in Central Spain.
Other Regions:
Romania, Moldova

New World Regions

New Zealand: 41,500 acres
In the regions Marlborough, Martinborough, Gisbourne, Hawkes Bay, and Waipara Valley
USA: 40,000 acres
Found mostly in Sonoma and Napa California.
Chile: 31,000 acres
South Africa: 23,500 acres
Australia: 17,500 acres
Grown predominantly in South Australia and Victoria.

Over 275,000+ acres of Sauvignon Blanc planted worldwide.

Sauvignon Blanc Food Pairing

Go Green. Sauvignon Blanc with its herbaceous notes pairs well with similar green herbs. If it has parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro or mint, chances are Sauvignon Blanc will make a great pairing.

There is also one classic pairing of Sauvignon Blanc that started in the Loire Valley. Close to Sancerre there is a goat cheese produced called Crottin de Chavignol and it has an international reputation as an outstanding stinky-creamy cheese. A bite of Crottin with a splash of Sauvignon Blanc is considered a classic perfect pairing.

A regional match is almost always your best match for food and wine pairing
This regional wine pairing of Goat Cheese and Sancerre is a classic Sauvignon Blanc pairing.

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Meat Pairings

White meats including Chicken, Pork Chop and Turkey. Fish including Tilapia, Sea Bass, Perch, Sole, Haddock, Trout, Cod, Redfish, Halibut, Snapper, Mussels, Crab, Lobster, and Clams.

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Spices and Herbs

Green herbs including Parsley, Basil, Mint, Tarragon, Thyme, Fennel, Dill, Chives, and Rosemary. Spices including White Pepper, Coriander, Fennel, Turmeric, and Saffron.

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Cheese Pairings

Look for softer more briny and sour cheeses like Goat’s milk cheese, Yogurt, and Crème fraîche.

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Vegetables & Vegetarian Fare

Sauté green veggies or mix vegetables in more fatty vegetarian dishes so that the acidity of the wine shines through. Here are some example dishes for inspiration: Asparagus quiche, cucumber dill yogurt salad, green hummus, white bean casserole with zucchini and white lasagna.

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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