What is Sauvignon Blanc Wine?

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 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, Sonoma County and New Zealand are producing sensual Sauv’s as well.

In addition, Sauvignon Blanc is famously used as part of the blend for making the sweet dessert wine in Bordeaux, called Sauternes.

Sauvignon Blanc Wine 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%.

RELATED: The Many Flavors of 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 in.

“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.

Learn About These Other Wine Grape Varieties

Chenin Blanc
Petit Verdot
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Meunier

Written By Greig Santos-Buch

Greig Santos-Buch is a Co-Founder at Winetraveler.com and a WSET 2 Merit wine writer. He works with several brands focusing on experiential and immersive-style travel. In his spare time, you can find him hiking with a bottle of Cabernet Franc in his backpack or scuba diving trying to talk a reef shark into trying Swiss wine.

Get Articles Like These Directly in Your Inbox!

Subscribe to Winetraveler and receive notifications when new articles are published.


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

Structure & Body

Body Light-Medium

Sugar Dry

Tannins Light

Acid Medium-Plus

Alcohol Medium-Plus (12.5%-14.5% ABV)

Finish Finish: Bright, Medium

Fish, Sushi, Shell Fish, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Vegetables

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.

Leave a Comment, Ask a Question or Share a Review

One Comment

  1. Wine traveller, you have probably left out one of the most prominent wine regions in the World – South Africa .
    The Sauvignon Blanc’s produced in the varied terroir’s on offer in South Africa are superb and superior .

Send this to a friend