Updated: Jun 9, 2020
The Sauvignon Blanc Taste Profile is made up of a unique combination of color, flavors, aromas, and structure. These elements are referred to as wine characteristics. Sauvignon Blanc has hallmark characteristics that will help you identify the wine by sight, smell and taste and you won’t even have to look at the bottle.
Each type of wine grape develops a unique combination of flavors and aromas. These flavors and aromas are influenced by things like their growing environment (climate and soil – aka terroir), the fermentation process (aka yeast converting sugar to alcohol), and maturation (such as aging in oak barrels).
You could think of it this way. The different grapes are like different types of meat. You know that chicken tastes different from steak and they both taste different from pork or Tofu (can’t forget the vegetarians). Each type of meat just like each type of grape has its own unique taste and aroma. Adding seasoning to each one of those meats brings out additional flavors. After seasoning is added to chicken, does it still taste like chicken? Of course. Same thing with wine grapes. They maintain their primary flavor and aroma characteristics, but “seasoning” added from climate and winemaking processes creates additional flavors and aromas.
The color for white wine ranges from Pale Straw to Medium Straw to Deep Gold. Wine that has a pale straw color is from cooler regions. Wine with a deep gold color is from warmer regions, has been aged in oak, and/or is older wine.
Sauvignon Blanc Wine Color: Pale Straw with a hint of green.
Flavors & Aromas
Look for Fruit, Floral, Herbal, and Spice notes to identify flavors and aromas in wine.
Focusing on fruit, white wines come in a range with cool-climate wines showing more citric notes (lemon, lime, green apple, pear), with a mid-range of stone fruits (peach, apricot), to warm-climate wines exhibiting more tropical fruit notes (pineapple, banana).
Spice notes like vanilla and clove come from aging in oak. Sauvignon Blanc usually ages in stainless steel tanks. Warm climate Sauvignon Blanc can be aged in oak to round out fruit-forward flavors (a fancy way for saying ‘strong fruit flavors’). For this style, look for Fumé Blanc on the label.
Sauvignon Blanc Flavors & Aromas: Citric (lemon, green apple) with herbaceous notes (green bell pepper, cut grass).
Wine structure is a combination of acidity (that sour, pucker sensation), sweetness levels, tannin (that bitter taste and drying sensation), alcohol levels (abv: alcohol by volume), and body (the heaviness of the wine — think skim milk vs whole milk).
Sauvignon Blanc Wine Structure: High acidity, dry, no tannin, 12-14% abv, and medium-body.
Hallmarks of Sauvignon Blanc Taste Profile
The hallmark taste profile of Sauvignon Blanc is its high acidity and its citric, herbaceous notes.
Look for Sauvignon Blanc from these top regions: Sancerre, France – Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley. It is labeled as Sancerre and not as Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough, New Zealand – This is labeled as Sauvignon Blanc.
Learn more about the history, top regions, wine recommendations, and pairings with this Sauvignon Blanc post.