Glass of Sauvignon Blanc wineOne of the world’s favourite white wines, Sauvignon Blanc is a drink that always attracts attention. No generic, neutral, once sipped, immediately forgotten variety, this is a strongly aromatic, acidic drink that you either love or hate. However, if you’ve been put off by a mouth-puckeringly, sucking on a lemon style of Sauvignon Blanc, don’t give up!

This refreshing and aromatic grape can in fact be made into so many other styles. The aromas and flavours can vary hugely, as can the acidity, depending on the climate where the grapes were grown, their level of ripeness and the winemaking technique. The following 7 styles of Sauvignon Blanc wine give you an idea of just how diverse this variety can be.

7 styles of Sauvignon Blanc wine

  1. Enjoying Sauvignon BlancWine from cool areas (the Loire, parts of New Zealand) can display grassy, herbaceous aromas and notes that have even been described as “cat’s pee”.
  2. Under-ripe fruit can produce wines with vegetal notes like tomatoes, green peppers, chilli peppers, grass or asparagus, which comes from their high pyrazine content.
  3. New World wines frequently have fresh citrus aromas, like lemons or grapefruit. If they are from a slightly warmer area, the wine can have more tropical fruit aromas; for instance you can often detect notes like pineapple and lime in Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Casablanca Valley in Chile.
  4. If the climate is even warmer, the wine will probably have a lower level of acidity and may have aromas of peaches and nectarines.
  5. Some producers pick the grapes at different levels of ripeness to give the wine a wide range of different aromas – notes of chilli peppers intermingled with citrus aromas, for instance.
  6. Some winemakers are experimenting with fermentation and maturation in oak, which can give the wine notes of sweet spices, creaminess and a honey texture and body. If the label says Fumé Blanc, it is likely to be a New World (especially US) Sauvignon Blanc with some oak-ageing.
  7. And of course, when blended with Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc can make sweet wines (often with botrytis), such as the world-famous Sauternes from Bordeaux.
Matetic winemaker Julio Bastías holds up freshly harvested Sauvignon Blanc grapes
Matetic winemaker Julio Bastías holds up freshly harvested Sauvignon Blanc grapes

While most Sauvignon Blanc is at its best enjoyed young and fruity, those wines with oak fermentation or ageing take a couple of years to reach their best and the likes of Sauternes can evolve for many years.

What’s your favourite style of Sauvignon Blanc? Do you have a favourite brand, producer or region?

If you are looking to try out some Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, check out the results from our recent tasting panel.

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