Sauvignon Blanc, or SB as it’s known to its many friends, is one of the US’ most popular wines. It has a refreshing crispness to it as it has high acidity and low sugar levels. It’s often described as grassy.

The grape comes from the same region as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – Bordeaux in France. It’s believed that the name Sauvignon comes from the French “sauvage”, or savage, because the grape used to grow wild in the region. Local winemakers tended to use Sauvignon Blanc in their blends and also in the dessert wine Sauterne.

A local hit

After finding popularity in Bordeaux blends, this grape travelled north to Sancerre in France’s Loire Valley, where it finally got to make a wine by itself. Rather than naming the wine Sauvignon Blanc, however, the winemakers decided to call it Sancerre, after the region. This wine then went on to become a firm favourite in the bistros and bars of Paris because it worked well with food and was also eminently quaffable on its own.

Achieving worldwide favour

Paris wasn’t quite far enough for this Sancerre/Sauvignon Blanc to travel, though. This popular wine soon found its way around the globe and ended up making its presence felt in New Zealand in the 1980s. This is where the real name of the grape came to the fore – previously people referred to it as Sancerre – and became a huge international hit.

It was in the 1980s that wines from New Zealand were hitting the market and people were enjoying their bright, refreshing nature – and their affordability! Not wanting to be left out, several other wine-producing regions caught on and before much longer, amazing SBs were coming out of Chile, South Africa and, of course, California.


No matter whether you know it as Sancerre or as SB, you’ll appreciate its light, refreshing dryness with the aromas and flavors of grass and herbs, followed by an acidic finish. This wine is almost never aged in oak barrels so that it retains its bright fruitiness.