Sauvignon Blanc and blends
Is it sauvignon blanc semillon (SBS) or semillon sauvignon blanc (SSB)?
Sauvignon blanc semillon is up there with cab merlot and GSM as Australia’s favourite blend, and is indeed one of the world’s favourites thanks to its role in the famous White Bordeaux wines. Unlike these other blends it doesn’t appear that we’ve settled on a name for SBS/SSB as yet, but there’s a good reason for this. The name of the blend comes from putting the grapes in order of their blend percentage. And while GSM will always feature majority grenache, a smaller amount of shiraz and a touch of mataro, both semillon and sauvignon blanc can be the headline act in their blend, and will often be blended as a perfect 50/50 split. So an SBS is majority sauvignon blanc, an SSB is majority semillon, and any wine with a 50/50 split of the grapes can be named however the winemaker wants (could even be called a classic dry white).
What does sauvignon blanc semillon taste like?
It’s no secret that sauvignon blanc and semillon work particularly well together, and with similar amounts of both grape featuring in SBS/SSB, the resulting wine showcases the best bits of both. The fruitiness and acidity of sauvignon blanc is noticeable, but the edge is taken off it by the herbaceous, grassier semillon. Sauvignon blanc contributes more tropical fruit flavours, while semillon adds citrus. Depending on the ripeness of the fruit and the percentages of each grape used, SSB/SBS can swing from dry to sweet, and from fruity to earthy. We’re (not at all) sorry to say it, but the only way to understand the range of flavours that these wines can offer is to sit down and sample a few.
Is sauvignon blanc semillon a dry wine?
Sauvignon blanc semillon is called Australia’s classic dry white, and is often still labelled as such. So yes, SSB/SBS is dry. But that’s not to say that certain blends won’t offer some real sweetness, particularly if ripe fruit is used. Both grapes are naturally fruit-forward, so while they certainly won’t be overtly saccharine like a moscato or a dessert wine, some fruit punch will be found amongst the dryness.
What food does sauvignon blanc semillon pair best with?
This classic dry white will go with most of the classic dry white food pairings that Australians have been enjoying for decades. We’re talking fresh seafood, particularly prawns, scallops and white fish, garden salads, light chicken dishes and mild curries. But outside of meal times, sauvignon blanc semillon is best paired with cheese. Its versatility is on display here too – hard or soft, sharp or dull, stinky or mild, SSB/SBS doesn’t play favourites when it comes to cheese. You can order that sample platter with confidence.