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Robin McBride
September 26, 2019 | Robin McBride

The Essential Guide to Sauvignon Blanc

Pouring sauvignon blanc white wine into glass McBride Sisters Collection Sauvigon Blanc

Put down your glass of Sauvignon Blanc…now pick it back up.

If you’re like us, you like to know the facts about what you’re consuming. Well, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get to know everyone’s favorite white wine: Sauvignon Blanc!

McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand McBride Sisters Collection

Back To Basics

Sauvignon Blanc, a green-skinned grape variety, originates from the Bordeaux region of France and produces a dry, crisp white wine. In the 1880s, the first Sauvignon Blanc cuttings were brought to California, the location of McBride Sisters Collection headquarters. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the grape was first introduced to New Zealand, where the McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc and SHE CAN Sauvignon Blanc are cultivated. In 1979, Sauvignon Blanc was first commercially produced on New Zealand shores and is now the country’s most widely planted variety.

Besides California and New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is also cultivated in France, Chile, Romania, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Washington state. Can you get any more worldly?!

Let's Acclimatize

Did you know that the Sauvignon Blanc vine often buds late but ripens early? Therefore, it performs best in sunny climates, as long as it’s not exposed to overwhelming heat. In warm regions––for example, South Africa, Australia, and California––the grape thrives in cooler climates. High heat causes the grape to over-ripen and produce dull-flavored wine. 

Both of our Sauvignon Blancs are cultivated in the Marlborough Region of New Zealand. The region’s sandy soils over slate shingles makes for great soil drainage. It also has poor fertility, which encourages the vine to focus its flavors in lower yields. Climate determines if the wine’s flavor is more tropical or grassy. 

Flavors of The Month

Warmer climates produce a wine with tropical fruit notes. Over-ripeness is a risk, and leaves faint grapefruit and tree fruit notes. On the other end of the spectrum, cooler climates produce wine with noticeable acidity and flavors of grass, green bell peppers, passion fruit, and floral notes. An unripe grape is high in malic acid. As it ripens, it develops bell pepper flavors, achieving a balance of sugars. Sauvignon Blanc’s primary flavors are lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. The flavor palette ranges from zippy lime to flowery peach. 

What makes Sauvignon Blanc unique from other white wines? Well, its aromatic organic compounds called “pyrazines” give the wine its herbaceous flavors of bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry, and grass. Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity level is medium to medium-high. 

Similar varieties include: Verdejo, Albariño, Colombard, Grüner Veltliner, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Tocai Friulano, Savignan (rare), Traminer, and Sauvignon Vert (rare).

Flavors in Sauvignon Blanc McBride Sisters Collection

Via Wine Folly.

Tu Parle en Français?

“Sauvage” is the French word for “wild,” and “Blanc” is the French word for “white.” Therefore, Sauvignon Blanc translates to “wild white.” So, guess we’re gettin’ wild with a glass of “wild white!”

Pour To Enjoy

Sauvignon Blanc does not particularly benefit from aging, so there’s no need to wait to open a bottle. Lighter, crisp wines like Sauvignon Blanc shouldn’t be oxidized as much to preserve the clean flavor. When it comes to using the right wine glass shape, look for wine glasses with a smaller mouth.* These glasses reduce the surface area of the wine. Use these glasses to enjoy our delicate McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc.

*Psst! Visit our blog post “Why the Shape of a Wine Glass Shapes the Taste of Your Wine” for more information.

Another trick of the trade is to serve Sauvignon Blanc at “cellar temp” (about 50 to 60 degrees). When it comes to chilling white wine, there are two options. You can either leave it in the fridge for several hours, or you can put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. If the girls are on their way, pop that bottle in the freezer and you’re good to go. 

Pair Away!

Luckily for us, Sauvignon Blanc has a variety of foods that mutually compliment each other. 

  • Seafood lovers, this one’s for you! Sauvignon Blanc’s zing enhances the citrus and garlic-based sauces used for seafood, shellfish, and white fish. It is also one of the only wines that works well with sushi.
  • By now you know that Sauvignon Blanc has herbaceous notes. These pair well with similar green herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro, mint, tarragon, thyme, fennel, dill, and chives. Other “non-green” spices include white pepper, coriander, turmeric, and saffron.
  • Meat lovers, unite! Perfect white meat pairings are chicken and turkey. 
  • We love a delectable cheese board. Try Sauvignon Blanc with softer, briny, and sour cheeses like goat’s milk cheese.
  • Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the veggies! Pair these vegetarian dishes with Sauvignon Blanc: asparagus quiche, cucumber dill yogurt salad, white bean casserole with zucchini, and green hummus.

Now that you’re a Sauvignon Blanc expert, put your knowledge to the test. Kick back with a bottle (or two) of crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc! Visit our Wine Shop to explore our wines. 

Cheers to You!

XOXO Robin + Andrea


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