Sauvignon Blanc is popular in France where it thrives in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions. In Bordeaux it is usually blended with Semillon to make great dry white wines. This classic white wine blend has been extremely popular in Australia, particular Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends from Western Australia. In France’s Loire Valley it is vinified as a stand alone varietal with the most famous examples being Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. These were seen as the world’s benchmark until recent years, when New Zealand’s Marlborough region found favour around the world with their highly aromatic, intensely flavoured examples. Australia produces its best Sauvignon Blanc in cool climate regions like the Adelaide Hills, which provide superb conditions for this popular variety to thrive.
Sauvignon Blanc differs greatly depending on the country, climate and soil in which the grapes are grown. Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire is typically bone dry, with mineral, gooseberry, red fruit and nettle characters and characteristic sharp acidity. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region can be quite herbaceous and is marked by its intense gooseberry, citrus and tropical fruit aromas and flavours. Sauvignon Blanc needs a cool climate to thrive and give it crisp acidity, whereas the examples from warmer regions can lack vibrancy. Depending on where in Australia your Sauvignon Blanc originates, it runs the gamut of flavour from herbal, grassy, sour citrus and gooseberry, to passionfruit and tropical fruit characters. Structurally these wines can be light in body and crisp or medium-bodied and rich. Some have a small portion of oaked material to add a further dimension of complexity. The popularity of Sauvignon Blanc has been rising over the past decade and it is now Australia’s top selling white wine in dollar terms.
The cool Adelaide Hills is perfectly suited to producing crisp, fresh, grassy Sauvignon Blanc. Good examples are also produced in Coonawarra, with richer, riper examples coming from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek.
Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc has ripe, zippy and grassy flavours that have attractive, tropical musky-asparagus aromas. Pemberton is a small Western Australian region that produces distinct and appealing Sauvignon Blanc styles. You can expect tropical fruit aromas and flavours with soft glossy palates.
Victoria’s cool regions produce some fresh and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc, with those from the Yarra being typically elegant and restrained. King Valley and Goulburn Valley Sauvignon Blanc is often grassy and also shows classic cool-climate freshness and vibrancy.
The cool Tasmanian climate is ideal for Sauvignon Blanc, that typically has high levels of crisp acidity, which gives the wine great freshness. Often, a small proportion may be matured in oak to add complexity, richness and texture.
A rising star, Orange’s cool climate and high altitude have proved to be ideal conditions for creating Sauvignon Blanc with fresh, herbaceous characters.