Sauvignon Blanc: white magic

Summer 2019

Sauvignon Blanc: white magic

Stand-alone or boosting a blend, this unforgettable character loves good food and makes good times

Freshly, lively, food-friendly Sauvignon Blanc is among the most instantly recognizable varietals. It flaunts piercing aromas of gooseberry, cut grass, asparagus, flowering currant, green pepper, nettles—and even cat’s pee. This cool climate grape reaches its apex of aromatic intensity and zesty crispness in France’s Loire Valley (showing a minerally, flinty, smoky, lemony character in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé) and in New Zealand (often bursting with ripe tropical fruit flavours in wines of the South Island’s Marlborough region).

In Bordeaux, it is traditionally blended with Sémillon to make less intense whites to go with local fruit de mers, and also sweet, botrytised dessert wine. Use of oak is the exception. Examples of oak aged Sauvignon Blanc include white Graves, a Sémillon blend, and Fumé Blanc, a name invented by Robert Mondavi for oak style Sauvignon Blanc.

Quick facts

  • Coined in California in 1981, the term Meritage (pronounced like heritage) is the trademark for wines blended from traditional Bordeaux varieties
  • White Meritage is made by blending two or more of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Sauvignon Vert
  • Chile’s Casablanca region and South Africa’s Cape region are successful Sauvignon Blanc producers

Best way to enjoy

Food pairings: Loire style with goat’s cheese, asparagus quiche, salad, light fish, oysters; New Zealand style with flavourful seafood, vegetables, pork (slightly sweet and cooked with spices) and Meritage with richly sauced fish dishes, lobster

Temperature: 6-8 C

Type of glass: tulip-shaped wine glass

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About The Author

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Michael Botner

Wine columnist for Okanagan Life Magazine, Michael Botner authors our High Spirits feature. Trained as a chartered accountant, Michael now devotes his time and energy to Accounting for Taste, a company dedicated to demystifying wine. As a wine consultant, Michael has chaired a number of international wine competitions. More posts