Get to know: Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand has some of the world’s best sauvignon blancs, and there's so many varieties to enjoy

The perennial New Zealand favourite, sauvignon blanc really comes into its own in summer and autumn as its high acid backbone means it can be chilled right down low, but is also ideal throughout the year.

Crisp or full?

The important thing to remember about sauvignon blanc is that there are quite distinct styles of this varietal. If you prefer the crisper versions, then try wines from Central Otago. For a fuller mouthfeel, try wines from Canterbury, the Wairarapa and Marlborough/Nelson. North of these regions, the climate can be too hot and the wines can lack the acid backbone the varietal is known for. 

Sav for non-savvies

Not all sauvignon blanc follows the common “herbaceous” style, with the green, capsicum and herbal flavours the varietal is known for. More tropical styles have been appearing on the market over the last 5-10 years, which makes for some super tasty wines liked even by previously “anti-sav” drinkers.

Tropical-style sauvignon blanc tends to hail from Marlborough, particularly the Wairau Valley region. While the herbaceous style is preferred in international markets and what New Zealand sauvignon blanc is generally renowned for, it’s worth trying the varietal again if you haven’t previously been a sauvignon fan, as you might surprise yourself and end up agreeing that it’s a perfect summer wine. 

Food match

Sauvignon blanc marries well with many seafoods including shellfish such as mussels and oysters. The vitality and tanginess of this varietal also complements citrus, garlic and vinegar-based dressings, especially with crunchy summer salads.   

Top tip!

Unless you know it’s a special aged or oaked wine – which would be stated on the label – sauvignon blanc is best enjoyed when young and fresh.

If you liked this, you might also like: TOP 5 SAUVIGNON BLANCS FOR THE COOLER MONTHS


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