The many faces of sauvignon blanc

New Zealand's Marlborough district produces outrageously pungent sauvignon blanc.
New Zealand's Marlborough district produces outrageously pungent sauvignon blanc.  Photo: Shutterstock

 Sauvignon blanc comes in many guises, from the relatively straightforward styles common in Australia to the outrageously pungent wines of New Zealand's Marlborough region.

Our cooler regions often yield savvies with good varietal fruit. Adelaide Hills is leading the charge, while Margaret River and south-west WA wines are often exciting. Some makers are achieving an almost sancerre-like mineral note.

Tasmania seems an obvious source, but so far results have been mixed. While seldom as arresting as Marlborough's, the Adelaide Hills style can be delicious and its restraint often contributes to its more-ishness and sheer gulpability.

O'Leary Walker Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Adelaide Hills, $20-$22

Score 89

The colour is light straw and it has a fresh, youthful, fairly straightforward aroma, the palate crisp and fresh, vital and bright, with appealing balance and drinkability. It's a charming and subtle young savvy, with restrained varietal character. Screw-cap; 12 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to four years.

Stockists include Broadway Cellars, Glebe (NSW); Templestowe Cellars (Vic).

Alkoomi Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Frankland River, $28

Score 91


A more mineral style of sauvignon, this opens with a smoky struck-flint reductive aroma, while the taste is crisp, tangy and very alive. It has a superior level of intensity and drive, and finishes dry, with refreshing acidity. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to six years.

Stockists include Kemeny's, Bondi (NSW);

Opawa Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, $20-$23

Score 91

Marlborough savvies have a tropical, passionfruity pungency and this one has some of that character plus lemony notes. It's soft and fruity in the mouth, ripe and deliciously drinkable, with balanced acidity, the finish dry and appetising. It demands a simple pan-fried fish fillet. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Best within five years.

Stockists include; the Railway Hotel, Windsor (Vic).