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 crisper and fresh.
Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity can also handle a wide range of cooking methods such as grilling, charring, smoking, steaming, sauteing, and raw dishes. Our favourite food and Sauvignon Blanc Pairings include Goat Cheese, Grilled Asparagus, Crab Cakes, Corn Chips & Guacamole, Mussels, Salmon Burgers, and Scallops.
Classic Sauvignon Blanc
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. Sauv Blanc is also exceptional with Caesar Salad or anything tossed in Pesto Sauce.
Classic Sauvignon Blanc 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 Sauvignon Blanc while grilling up peppers, eggplant, asparagus and zucchini on the barbecue for gourmet sandwiches.
Asparagus & Sauvignon Blanc Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc is fantastic with grilled asparagus as the pungent and grassy notes on the nose complement the green flavours of Asparagus. Meanwhile, the citrus nature of a Sauvignon Blanc is wonderful with asparagus, as each sip is like a little squeeze of lemon on your food.
Sauvignon Blanc will go great with most vegetarian soups, especially minestrone, potato and leek soup, 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, garlic bread, or seafood dishes like shrimp scampi, sole or halibut. With its bright citrus acidity and herbaceous notes, Sauvignon Blanc is also a blessing with vegetarian pizza, or vegetarian stir fry.
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 zippy acidity in Sauvignon Blanc also cuts through rich cream/butter dishes such as Butter Chicken, and dishes that are spicy and hot like Chicken Wings.
For a perfect pairing, Ceviche and Sauvignon Blanc is the catch of the day. Ceviche is a dish comprising of fresh raw seafood or fish, cured in a lemon/lime sauce, with herbs, minced onions, chilli peppers, or other regional ingredients added. The herbal flavours complement the herbs that may be sprinkled upon Ceviche, while the acidity of Sauvignon Blanc loves the lemon/lime flavours of Ceviche.
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, Salsa, Tzatziki, or soy sauce for Chinese Dumplings.
Guacamole & Sauvignon Blanc Pairing
An herbal Sauvignon Blanc, which complements the rich, earthiness of avocado, while the citrus flavours make this dip sparkle and shine. Guacamole tends to accompany starchy foods, such as corn chips, burritos, tacos or enchiladas. When combined, the starch of the food, along with the fat of the guacamole, clog your taste-buds up. But Sauvignon Blanc, with its crisp acidity, can easily zip in and lift away those heavy elements, making each bite of whatever you are enjoying, taste fresh again.
Oaked Sauvignon Blanc
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 Burgers.
Grilled Salmon Burgers and Oaked Sauvignon Blanc
Salmon Burgers are just screaming for a Sauvignon Blanc. For one reason, Sauvignon Blanc is grassy and herbal on the nose and palate, so it’s going to mesh well with the fresh parsley mixed in with the burger patty. Sauvignon Blanc is also acidic, and tart, allowing it to stand up to any lemon juice that is sometimes found in a salmon burger.
You’ll also find the oaky notes found in this style of Sauvignon Blanc complement the charred grill marks on your Salmon patty.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
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 herb 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. For example, I love a NZ Sauv Blanc paired with a creamy potato salad with dill.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc & Crab Cakes Pairing
Crab Cakes require acidic white wines with crisp flavours to cut through the breading, such as Sauvignon Blanc. Meanwhile, the bright flavours of Sauv Blanc enhance the subtle sea-kissed crab flavours, while the herb notes complement any dill or thyme you may have sprinkled on to your crab cakes.
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 is 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, mussels, sushi or fettuccine Alfredo.
Steamed Mussels & Sauvignon Blanc pairing
Sancerre is known for underlying flavours of gunflint, smoke or steeliness with intense notes of peach and gooseberries. When paired with steamed mussels, we love how the steeliness of the wine interacts with the ocean kissed flavours of the mussels. In a pinch, a Pouilly Fumé will work just as well.
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.
Goat Cheese & Pouilly Fumé Pairing
Considered a holy grail of food and wine pairing, Pouilly Fumé and Goat Cheese is a must have combination that you should experience at least once in your life. The reason why it works is that the zippy acidity of Sauvignon Blanc matches the acidity in the cheese, and as such, you have an invigorating pairing.
If you sprinkle a few green herbs upon your goat cheese, even better! The herbal flavours of Sauvignon Blanc will pick up on these notes and make your pairing experience even better!
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. My favourite Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillion pairing would have to be with Pulled Pork.
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 lasagna or eggplant parmigiana, or pungent fishes richer in oil such as salmon or anchovies. Keep it away from more delicate seafood though, like mussels, scallops or halibut.
Eggplant Parmesan & Sauvignon Blanc Pairing
Eggplant has a rather bitter taste, and the green vegetable taste of an Aged Sauvignon Blanc complements this flavour, without enhancing it. The acidity in an aged Sauvignon Blanc is subdued somewhat, but it still has enough zip to handle the tomato sauce found in this classic dish. Should your eggplant parmesan be breaded, the wine has no issue in cutting through the heavy carbohydrate content, or the fattiness of any cheese used.
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. Its citrus flavours won’t go well with caramelized onion, sweet squash and root vegetables.
Extremely rich dishes such as thick soups, like French Onion Soup, 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.