The World of Sauvignon Blanc: A Comprehensive Guide


The words Sauvignon Blanc tend to bring to mind memories of warm summer days spent relaxing outside with friends. It is a globally cherished white grape varietal, which is famed for its distinct and diverse flavour profile. From crisp, grassy notes to rich, creamy undertones, this versatile grape produces an array of wines that captivate the senses, solidifying its worldwide appeal among wine connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Couple Cheersing Wine

The History

Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes shortened to sauv blanc) is a widely recognised and universally appreciated grape varietal, and it gets its name from the French term ‘Sauvage’, translating to ‘wild’, so the Sauvignon Blanc meaning is ‘wild white (vine)’. The varietal came from France’s Loire Valley before making its way to South Africa.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape variety has a deep-rooted history in South Africa, with its cultivation dating back to as early as 1880 in Constantia. The oldest recognised block of this vine, however, is situated in Swartland and was planted around 1965.

Despite these early introductions, the prominence of Sauvignon Blanc did not immediately rise in South Africa’s wine industry. This was mainly due to the substandard planting materials that were disease-ridden, particularly by phylloxera. As a result, the growth and popularity of this variety remained dormant until the 1970s, when it started to gain momentum.

In present times, Sauvignon Blanc has carved a significant position in South Africa’s wine market. It now spans over 10,000 hectares, making up more than 10% of all vineyard areas in the country. It is also the fourth most cultivated grape variety in South Africa and contributes considerably to the annual local sale of 2.4 million cases of wine!

Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard Sign

What are the Characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc (here is a useful video on the Sauvignon Blanc pronunciation) is a white grape variety known for its distinctive and vibrant flavour profile. The first sip of a Sauvignon Blanc typically offers a punchy, zesty taste characterised by high acidity that leaves a tingle on the palate. This acidity often manifests as a crisp, fresh citrus flavour reminiscent of lime or grapefruit. However, depending on where the grapes are grown, you might also detect flavours of green apple, pear, or even tropical fruits like passionfruit.

The aroma of this wine is equally intriguing and varied. It often exudes a fresh, green, herbaceous scent, hinting at grass, bell peppers, or even jalapenos. Some describe it as having a ‘green’ smell, akin to fresh-cut grass or dew-kissed leaves. In warmer climates, the aroma can be more tropical, with hints of melon, mango, or papaya.

Another unique characteristic of white wine Sauvignon Blanc is its minerality. Wines made from these grapes often have a flinty or chalky undertone, adding complexity and depth to the overall flavour profile. This minerality can also lend a slightly bitter finish, which perfectly complements the fruit-forward nature of the wine.

HER Wines 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, with its hints of freshly cut grass, green apple, and juicy grapefruit and granadilla flavours, presents itself with a crisp and zesty flavour profile. It truly is one of the best Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa, with its good price point and delicious flavours.

Sauvignon Blanc - HER Wine Sauvignon Blanc

How Versatile is Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc is a highly adaptable grape variety, exhibiting different styles of wine depending on the climate and winemaking techniques used. This versatility is one of its most appealing characteristics among winemakers. Here is how the climate can affect the final Sauvignon Blanc taste:

Cooler Climates

In cooler climates, Sauvignon Blanc wine is often light-bodied, high in acidity, and exhibits pronounced mineral and herbaceous flavours. These wines are typically unoaked and have vibrant notes of green apple, gooseberry, and lime, coupled with a distinctive grassy aroma.

Warmer Climates

In contrast, Sauvignon Blanc produces fuller-bodied wines with riper, more tropical fruit flavours such as passionfruit, guava, and peach. These wines may also be aged in oak barrels, resulting in a richer, creamier texture and adding nuanced flavours of vanilla and toast to the wine’s profile.

Is Sauvignon Blanc Sweet?

Sauvignon Blanc can be sweet as it is also used in the production of sweet dessert wines. It is often blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle and affected by noble rot, creating a lush, honeyed wine with complex flavours of apricot, fig, and nuts.

Vineyards in South Africa are known to produce late harvest and noble rot wines using 100% Sauvignon Blanc. These unique wines boast flavour profiles and scents of fig, quince, apricot, caramelised ginger, almond paste, and orange peel. This version of Sauvignon Blanc presents a sweet taste, balanced beautifully with a gentle, vibrant acidity.

Whether it’s a crisp, refreshing summer sipper, a rich, oaky white, or a decadent dessert wine, Sauvignon Blanc’s adaptability allows it to deliver a diverse range of styles catering to various palates.

What Foods Should You Pair Sauvignon Blanc With?

Because Sauvignon Blancs can contain such different flavour profiles depending on where they are grown, it means that they can also be paired with a wide variety of foods. Here are examples of how to pair dishes based on the flavour profile of the Sauvignon Blanc you’ll be drinking:

Citrus Flavours

This flavour profile harmonises well with fish dishes, either grilled or fried. It enhances the flavours of Greek and Mexican meals and works well with dishes featuring fresh ingredients like avocados, tomatoes and olives.

Strong Minerality

This style excels when matched with uncomplicated, subtly seasoned foods. Consider pairing it with raw or lightly cooked shellfish such as oysters and prawns and plainly grilled fish like sea bass. It also pairs nicely with dishes that include raw or lightly cooked tomatoes, like gazpacho or tomato vinaigrettes, as well as goat cheeses.

Oaked Sauvignon Blanc

This variety pairs wonderfully with white meats like chicken or veal, particularly when they’re served with a creamy sauce. It complements spring vegetables such as asparagus and peas or pasta dishes enriched with spring vegetables and creamy sauces. It also works well with simply prepared seafood or lightly smoked fish.

Wine and Pasta

Grassy Flavours

This flavour profile is an excellent match for salads, especially those featuring seafood or ingredients like asparagus, green peppers, and herbs.

Food Pairing for HER Wines Sauvignon Blanc

The HER Wine Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp and zesty crowd pleaser. Great served chilled with a fresh green salad or crispy grilled chicken, turning an ordinary day into a memorable one.

About HER Wines

HER Wines is a groundbreaking wine company that is both all-black and all-female, making it a truly unique presence in the South African wine industry. What sets HER Wines apart is not only the fact that the wine is crafted by a talented black and female winemaker, but also that the entire process (from cultivation to production, marketing to distribution) is carried out by black women. This collective of remarkable individuals recognises the power of knowledge-sharing, mutual inspiration, and fostering connections within the diverse communities of South Africa.

The HER Wine Bursary: Making Dreams Come True

At HER Wine Collection, an all female winemaking company, our team has personally encountered and overcome significant obstacles on our journey to professional success. These experiences have provided us with a deep understanding of the challenges that young individuals face as they strive to find their place in the world. Inspired by this, we are committed to making a positive impact by donating 2% of our profits to a bursary fund. This fund aims to support young, ambitious, and talented individuals in achieving their dreams and aspirations.

The scholarship is open to applicants from families currently employed on the vineyards that supply grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The selected recipients will not only receive financial aid for their education, but also benefit from mentorship to navigate the intricacies of tertiary education and establish a successful career path.

Buy HER Sauvignon Blanc

If you are looking for Sauvignon Blanc brands to try, then don’t miss out on our 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, priced at only R90.00 a bottle. You can purchase it right here on our website and you will qualify for FREE shipping if you buy any 12 bottles of wine. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on everything at HER wines, and if you need any more information, then give us a call on +27 (0) 21 873 3170 or email

Sauvignon Blanc - HER Wine