Whenever you want to bring out the best flavours in a dish without masking any of your recipes’ character, Sauvignon Blanc is your wine. The effect is similar in how a bold and acidic vinaigrette will draw out the flavours in a summer salad, making everything seem that much more crisper and fresh.
Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity can also handle a wide range of cooking methods such as grilling, charring, smoking, steaming, Sautéing, and raw dishes.
Classic Sauvignon Blancs
There is no mistaking a ‘Classic’ Sauvignon Blanc. It tastes young, fresh, a little grassy and tangy. There’s
little to no oak, making this a crisp wine that’s perfect pair to with green salads with goat cheese, chicken, shellfish and pork, or even veal. These wines are also great at cutting through rich buttery dishes, especially ones that contain seafood. I’ve enjoyed many summer afternoons in my backyard sipping on a bottle of
Mike Weir Sauvignon Blanc, while grilling up peppers, eggplant, asparagus and zucchini on the barbecue for gourmet sandwiches.
Sauvignon Blanc will go great with most vegetarian soups, especially minestrone and simple purées. In
fact Sauvignon Blanc is a great starter wine for a meal as it will pair well with many traditional first courses such as soup, salads, antipasto or seafood dishes.
Dishes that emphasize fresh herbs, grilled with herbs, or dishes that come served with a sauce go remarkably well with Sauvignon Blanc. Even bold sauces like Guacamole or Salsa.
The high acidity in Sauvignon Blanc allows it to go great with sharp dishes such as crème fraiche, sour cream, yogurt, dill, capers, olives, tomatoes, zucchini and squash. The high acidity in Sauvignon Blanc also cuts through rich cream/butter dishes, and dishes that are spicy and hot.
Oaked Sauvignon Blancs
In some regions, California in particular, Sauvignon Blancs might be aged in oak barrels to give the wine a fuller flavour and texture, while taking away their natural grassiness flavours. They are similar to Chardonnays, but just a bit crisper and acidic. They’ll pair nicely with the lighter fare you’d match Chardonnay up with, such as Roast Chicken or Grilled Salmon.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs
A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is famous throughout the globe, and with good reason, they are similar to Classic Sauvignon Blancs yet unique in their own right. When looking at the Marlborough region, these Sauvignon Blanc’s tend to be pungent on the nose with scents of grapefruit, gooseberry, and green olive. The taste, however, is electric, with flavours of guava, passion fruit and nectarine.
Because of their herby quality on the nose (which is loving referred to cat pee on a gooseberry bush, New Zealand wines are the perfect partner in crime to anything with Dill, Thyme, Rosemary or virtually anything that is green and sprinkled on food.
Sancerre is a French Wine Appellation in the Eastern part of the Loire Valley and is named after the village. Many consider the wines here (which are 100% Sauvignon Blanc) the truest expression of the grape. Unlike a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre’s are not as pungent on the nose (however there are always exceptions).
Flavour wise, they are known for underlying flavours of gunflint, smoke or steeliness with intense notes of peach and gooseberries.
Sancerre’s will pair nicely with anything you’d consider pairing a Sauvignon Blanc with. To show off the wine match it up with shellfish, grilled catfish (a great marriage of the smokiness in the wine and the grilled fish), sea bass, sushi or fettuccini alfredo.
Like Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé is a French Wine Appellation in the Eastern part of the Loire Valley and is named after the village of Pouilly-Sur Loire. It also makes white wines using 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
If you were to compare the two, Pouilly Fumé is perhaps less acidic and has more of a fuller bodied than a Sancerre, but overall, it is almost nigh impossible to pick out the difference in a blind taste test.
Again, Pouilly Fumé will pair exceptionally well with seafood and tangy cheeses such as goat cheese.
Blended Sauvignon Blancs
Sauvignon styles that have been blended with the Sémillion grapes, Chardonnay or Viognier tend to be richer, fuller than regular Sauvignon Blancs while maintaining that classic zippiness on the tongue.
These wines are perfect for richer fare such as risotto, smoked or grilled white meats, and oven roasted dishes such as chicken or turkey.
The most famous region for blended Sauvignon Blancs is the Bordeaux region, where it is blended with the Sémillion grape.
Their wines have a certain duality, showing both lemon zest of the Sauvignon Blanc, and a honeyed richness of the Sémillion grape.
With notes of citrus, melon, honey, minerals, vanilla and that unmistakable Sauvignon Blanc grassiness, White Bordeaux are perfect with lobster, oysters, and other shellfish. Richer fish, white meat, bisques and creamy dishes also pair well.
Aged Sauvignon Blancs
Aged Sauvignon Blancs are an acquired taste. Over time, the youthful crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc fades, and the wine develops more nutty and green vegetable tastes. If you are a fan of this style, pair one up with flavourful vegetarian
dishes with a lot of texture, like lasagne or eggplant parmigiana, or pungent fishes richer in oil such as salmon or anchovies.
Avoid Pairing Sauvignon Blanc With…
Sauvignon Blanc and rich red meat dishes just aren’t friends, unless you are one of the rare people who like to squeeze lemon on their burgers or roast beef dinners.
Sauvignon Blanc is not a good match for holiday meals that are savoury and a little sweet. It’s citrus flavours won’t go well with caramelized onion, sweet squash and root vegetables.
Extremely rich dishes such as thick soups or sauces don’t fare well with Sauvignon Blanc. Think of the result you would get if you mixed lemonade with cream. The roundness of cream would overpower the lemonade, and the lemonade would end up tasting sharp and sour.