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The Wine Taster’s Guide to Sauvignon Blanc

Posted on 25th August 2013 by JN Wine

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The Wine Taster’s Guide to Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a very pretty, attractive white grape.  People fall for its fresh, aromatic character which can be anything from lemon and lime, to cut grass, to nettles, to gooseberry, kiwi, passionfruit and even cat’s pee depending on where it’s grown.  Sauvignon is best when grown in a relatively cool climate which allows it to ripen fully, but retain its aromatic, fresh character and zippy acidity.  Sauvignon grown in too warm a climate tastes cooked and flabby.

Sauvignon Blanc is a very straightforward, uncomplicated variety and suits simple winemaking to retain its purity of fruit flavour and its aromas.  Sauvignon Blanc is best enjoyed when young and fresh; this isn’t a variety for extended ageing.

Best areas:
In France, the upper Loire Valley is a fantastic source of elegant, fresh, Sauvignon Blanc.  Touraine, Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé and Menetou-Salon are all excellent appellations for Sauvignon.

In New Zealand, you get an extraordinarily perfumed and aromatic style of Sauvignon Blanc (particularly in Marlborough) and these wines are extremely popular and well loved.  Nelson, just next door to Marlborough, is a tiny area which also lends itself to delicious Sauvignon Blanc.

South Africa, Chile, Bordeaux and the south of France all have examples of really delicious Sauvignons too.

Semillon is the classic partner for Sauvignon Blanc, and this is the basis of the dry white wines of Bordeaux.  Some of the best examples are barrel-aged giving them a richer flavour and these wines will age very well for several years.  Western Australia (the Margaret River in particular) has very successfully adopted this blend too, but these are usually unoaked and fresher in style.

In Cheverny, another appellation in the Loire, Sauvignon is blended with a small amount of Chardonnay, but it doesn’t taste like it.  It’s still a very fresh, crisp wine.

Food matching:
A wine this light and fresh needs a light and fresh food match.  White fish simply cooked and dressed with lemon is a perfect match. Roast chicken with lots of fresh green herbs is also a lovely partner to Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a lovely wine to have with a fresh tomato salad. Sauvignon Blanc and goats cheese is another noteworthy combination worth remembering.


Dezat Sancerre
Dezat Pouilly Fumé
Domaine Bellevue Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

Ch Recougne (a fresh, fruity style)
Les Charmes Godard White (a richer Sem/Sauv blend that is barrel aged).

South of France
Gayda T’air d’Oc Sauvignon Blanc
Terre des Olivettes Sauvignon Blanc
Evangaliste Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand:
Heart of Stone
Forrest Doctors Sauvignon Blanc (a low alcohol wine)
Dog Point Section 94 (an oaked style)

Chile/South Africa
Cefiro Sauvignon Blanc, Chile.
Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, S. Africa
Long Beach Sauvignon Blanc, S. Africa

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