What Makes a Great Sauvignon Blanc?

At Ram’s Gate Winery, we believe what makes a great Sauvignon Blanc is a beautiful and sunny California day. Wait. That is, “when is the best time to enjoy a great Sauvignon Blanc?”

Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes are one of the most widely planted wines around the globe, which inherently creates a wide range of styles and flavors. 

Knowing what makes a great Sauvignon Blanc will allow you to pick a bottle for your next cocktail hour like a pro. 

Here is what you need to know. 

Is Sauvignon Blanc Different from Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay?

Yes. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay are very different. 

Each is made from different white grapes and is grown in a slightly different environment, which dictates its acidity, alcohol profile, and taste.  

Sauvignon Blanc has a light to moderately high alcohol level, is typically high in acidity, and is full-flavored with mineral, lime, green apple, passion fruit, white peach and grapefruit notes.

However, the secret to Sauvignon Blanc’s taste is its herbaceous flavors like grass, gooseberry, jalapeño, and bell pepper which come from aromatic compounds called pyrazines.

One thing that makes a great Sauvignon Blanc is they are made completely dry, although a few California producers have been known to leave a gram or two of residual sugar to add a richer texture.

What Style is Best? Stainless Steel or Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc?

The most common style that is associated with what makes a great Sauvignon Blanc is the unoaked version of the wine. 

Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless steel vats are known for their high acidity and bold herbaceous aromas grapefruit, lime, and gooseberry. 

Barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc is aged on dead yeast bits called lees which give the wine a richer and creamier texture. 

Overall, barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc commands a higher bottle price because it is a rare specialty.

What Region Makes a Great Sauvignon Blanc?

In the United States, two wine regions are known for making great Sauvignon Blanc. 

The first is the Northern Coast of California, including the Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino AVAs. The second is Washington State. 

Even in California, the region where the Sauvignon Blanc is produced determines what makes a great a Sauvignon Blanc—for its terroir. 

In Sonoma Valley, the Sauvignon Blanc has primary flavors of honeydew melon, pineapple and green apple with a light to medium body, medium to high acidity and moderate alcohol.

In Napa Valley? White peach, honeydew melon, grapefruit, and with medium body, medium acidity and moderate alcohol.

The Columbia Valley leans more toward gravelly minerals with lime and grapefruit in a light bodied wine with high acidity. 

Our experienced team of wine professionals curate our Ram’s Gate wine to honor the wild white grape with origins in the South of France into a great Sauvignon Blanc with green and herbaceous flavors that are perfect for creative food pairings. 

Learn more about our exciting wine collections, including what makes a great Sauvignon Blanc, in person by reserving an open-air winetasting experience at Ram’s Gate Winery today. Or, if you prefer to enjoy our offerings from home, schedule an informative virtual experience, join our wine club, or order online for delivery or curbside pickup today.