If you’re a snob about sauvignon blanc, with one broad stroke you’re cancelling out white wines with stunning fruit purity, complexity and even age-worthiness. Yes, the proliferation of a specific style may have contributed to your thinking on the varietal, but there are many examples out there that you’d be surprised by. The ahead sauvignon blancs have been influenced by winemaking techniques such as barrel fermentation and maturation, delivering a different take on the grape – one that looks to the Loire Valley, but that retains a level of freshness that honours the fruit. Try these drinkable whites for the warmer months – they might just convert you.
2016 Oakdene Vineyards Jessica Sauvignon Blanc
A bouquet of tropical fruit with citrus overtones and barrel-ferment characters. Fruit and vanilla flavours are balanced by fresh acidity and a mineral edge, with oak adding texture to the mid-palate. 96 points James Halliday and Best of Varietal Halliday Wine Companion Awards 2018.
What’s unique about this wine? Barrel fermentation and maturation result in texture, balance, restrained fruit and a long palate. It also has the ability to age well, adding complexity and depth of character. – Robin Brockett and Marcus Holt, winemakers
RRP $28 | 2020 | Oakdene
2016 Taltarni Fumé Blanc
Aromas of boysenberry and guava with notes of mineral and oak. The generous front palate extends into a mouth-filling grapefruit acid and a long, clean finish. Melon flavours softly dissipate into honeydew and spice true to the fumé style. 95 points James Halliday.
How do you achieve a fumé style? Time spent in French oak with lees stirring weekly to enhance texture and mouthfeel. The cool-climate complexity and acid come from Tasmanian fruit, and the tropical notes from the Pyrenees. – Robert Heywood, winemaker
RRP $26 | 2019 | Taltarni
2017 Sidewood Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Made with high-quality fruit from Sidewood’s Oakbank vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Aromas of tropical fruit, grapefruit and lemon zest lead into mouth-watering flavours of grapefruit, melon and green apple. Beautifully balanced, with lifted acidity offering outstanding length. Gold Royal Perth Wine Show 2017; Wine Orbit NZ 2017; Tastings USA 2017; Melbourne Wine Awards 2017; National Cool Climate Wine Show 2017.
Do you have a favourite food match for this wine? The wine is light and cleansing on the palate, so it lends itself to similarly light flavours. Pair with natural oysters or fish – any food that you’d typically drizzle with lemon juice. – Darryl Catlin, winemaker
RRP $20 | 2019 | Sidewood Estate
2017 Forester Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Herbaceous characters combine with subtle oak, passionfruit, nettle, grass and smoke. The palate is plump and textured with balanced acidity. Gold Margaret River Wine Show 2017.
Is there something different about the way this wine was made? A percentage was fermented in new and used barrels, adding an additional layer of complexity. – Kevin McKay and Todd Payne, winemakers
RRP $29.99 | 2020 | Forester Estate
2016 Hanging Rock Winery Jim Jim Sauvignon Blanc
This wine is triple picked and barrel fermented, which offers complexity, structure, depth and pretty floral notes. Low yields result in intense flavour.
What sets this sauvignon blanc apart? With a plethora of sauvignon blancs on the market, we’re proud to say that this was made with a lot of thought and care (recognised by James with a 95-point score). It’s a sauvignon blanc for those who want more out of their summer drink. – Robert Ellis, winemaker
RRP $30 | 2019 | Hanging Rock Winery
2015 Flowstone Sauvignon Blanc
Ripe nectarines, guava, some flinty highlights, with a lime-zest finish. The palate has wonderful textures, while retaining a juiciness of fruit and lightness. There is great intensity of fruit and fantastic length of flavour. 95 points James Halliday.
What makes this sauvignon blanc different? Our sauvignon blanc is a more palate-focused wine, free of the nervy pressures of immediacy, and expresses the variety in a textural manner. The style is inspired by Old World examples of sauvignon blanc. – Stuart Pym, winemaker
RRP $32 | 2024 | Flowstone Wines
Next article: Browse the Best of Sauvignon Blanc from the Halliday Wine Companion Awards 2018.