This Sauvignon Blanc taste guide is part of our grape variety series. Learn about grape varieties both popular and obscure. We discuss the Sauvignon Blanc variety, food pairings, nutrition facts and an overview of ideal terroir in this article.
An Overview to Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape variety that is most often used to produce dry white wines. Light and refreshing, it’s unique in that its flavor sets it apart from most other white wine grape varieties.
Although climate and terroir for Sauvignon grown throughout the world can have a huge impact on flavor, there are some general commonalities.
Sauvignon Blanc tasting notes are most commonly associated with tropical, tree and citrus fruit. Specifically, flavor nuances of dates, papaya, melon and numerous notes of herbs or dry underbrush are most present when the wine comes from a cooler climate.
If exposed to oak, you may notice bits of English pudding, custard and vanilla. While it’s probably most well known for being the preferred white wine grape variety in the Bordeaux region of France and the Loire Valley – New World wine growing regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley California are producing sensual Sauv’s as well.
Detailed Sauvignon Blanc Taste Analysis
Common Flavors and Aromas
- Fruit: Tropical, Tree & Citrus (Fig, Melon, Lemon-Lime, White Peach, Dates, Raisin, Orange, Papaya, Grapefruit)
- Oaked Sauvignon Blanc: English Pudding, Vanilla Custard, Toast
- Earth & Mineral Notes: Underbrush, Crushed Clay, Dry Herbs
- Additional Complexities: Tumbleweed, Fresh Cut Grass, Geranium, Fresh Can of Tennis Balls, Smoke, White Asian Spice, Green Bell Pepper
- Body: Light
- Sugar: Dry
- Tannins: Light
- Acid: Medium Plus
- Alcohol: Medium-Plus (12.5%-14.5% ABV)
- Finish: Bright, Medium
- Soil: Flint, Gravel, Sand, Slate, Stone
- Climate: Varied (Cool – Warm)
- Notable Regions: Napa Valley, California | Bordeaux, France | Sonoma County, California | South Island, New Zealnd | Loire Valley, France | Marlborough Valley, New Zealand | Valparaíso, Chile
Sauvignon Blanc Calories and Nutrition Facts
One 5 ounce glass of Sauvignon Blanc will range between 130 and 135 calories. It can occasionally contain more alcohol, than say, a Pinot Grigio – which results in a slightly higher calorie count. ABV in a bottle of Sauv Blanc can range between 12.5% – 14.5%.
Sauvignon Blanc Terroir and Climate
This grape variety can grow in both cool and warm climates within a variety of soil compositions. That makes it a bit complex. For instance, in New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is drastically affected by the type of soil it’s grown on.
“Thicker,” more dense soil compositions tend to bring out more earth and herbal flavors, while “thinner,” more aerated soils tend to produce less herbaceous and more tropical Sauvignon Blanc’s.
Compound these soil variations with different climates and this grape variety gets even more intricate. Cooler climates also bring out more earth, herb and citrus, while warmer climates bring out more tropical and tree fruit flavors.
Excessive warmth during the growing season can force these late budding, early ripening grapes to over-ripen. Over-ripe Sauvignon Blanc will lack aromatics, acid and flavoric depth.
Food Pairing Sauvignon Blanc
This grape variety pairs incredibly well with sushi. The light, crisply refreshing tropical fruits and subtle herbs play well with fish crafted with similar toppings and sauces.
Your fish doesn’t need to be raw, though. We recently had a beautiful New World Sauvignon Blanc with crisp oysters drizzled with spicy aioli and mango-poblano pico. It’s also worth sampling along side lemon-butter scallops or steamed mussels.
If you’re drinking a Sauvignon Blanc that’s been aged in oak, try something a bit heavier to accent the vanilla creme and toasted flavors.
Grilled chicken with grilled veggies, chicken francaise, or lemon-lime cilantro cream mani mahi (or swordfish) will pair nicely.