Is Sauvignon Blanc Sweet or Dry?

Two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc surrounded by white wine bottles and grapes

Sauvignon Blanc is a popular white wine. You may be wondering – is Sauvignon Blanc sweet? Or is Sauvignon Blanc dry? The short answer – typically, Sauvignon Blanc is dry (AKA “not sweet”), but it depends!

Sauvignon Blanc dry white wine in a glass next to Sauvignon Blanc grapes

Is Sauvignon Blanc Sweet?

Sauvignon Blanc is typically considered a dry white wine. Dry wines have little to no residual sugar, which means they are not sweet on the palate. Instead, they are known for their crisp and refreshing taste and notable acidity.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes are known for their vibrant and herbaceous flavors, which can include tasting notes of citrus, green apple, tropical fruits, and sometimes even a subtle grassy or herb-like character. This varietal’s dryness and acidity make it a popular choice for those who prefer wines with a more tangy and zesty profile.

However, it’s worth mentioning that there can be variations in sweetness levels among different wines. Some winemakers may produce off-dry or slightly sweet versions, but the majority of Sauvignon Blanc wines available are dry.

If you prefer sweet wines, it’s essential to check the label or ask for recommendations from a knowledgeable wine retailer to find a Sauvignon Blanc that aligns with your taste preferences. Alternatively, check out our guide to the best sweet white wines!

Related: Best Sauvignon Blanc Wines – Complete Shopping Guide

Sweet sauvignon Blanc dessert wine in a glass

Uncovering the World of Sweet Sauvignon Blanc

While Sauvignon Blanc is generally known for its crisp, dry profile, some winemakers produce dessert-style Sauvignon Blanc wines, often referred to as “late harvest” or “noble rot” wines. 

These dessert wines offer a unique and delightful experience that contrasts with the traditional dry version of the varietal.

Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

Late harvest Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes left on the vine for an extended period, well beyond the regular harvest time. 

As the grapes remain on the vine, they continue to ripen and concentrate their sugars. This extended ripening process results in a higher sugar content in the grapes, leading to a sweeter and more luscious wine.

Winemakers typically pick the grapes when they have reached their optimal ripeness, often affected by a certain level of “botrytis cinerea,” also known as noble rot. Noble rot is a beneficial fungus that dehydrates the grapes, further concentrating their flavors and sugars while adding unique characteristics to the wine.

Characteristics of Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

Sweetness: Late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc wines are noticeably sweet, with pronounced residual sugar levels that provide a dessert-like sweetness on the palate. The sweetness is well-balanced by the wine’s highly acidic profile, preventing it from becoming cloying.

Richness: The extended ripening process and noble rot contribute to the wine’s richness and complexity. Flavors of honey, apricot, peach, and tropical fruits are often present, making for a luxurious and indulgent tasting experience.

Ageability: Late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc wines have excellent aging potential due to their high sugar and acidity levels. Properly stored bottles can evolve and develop fascinating flavors over time, transforming into even more decadent and mature wines.

Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc Wine Bottle

Finding Your Perfect Sauvignon Blanc Wine

By now we hope we have fully answered the question: “Is Sauvignon Blanc sweet or dry?” Sauvignon Blanc wine is anything you want it to be! It’s a diverse wine with plenty of options.

With that said, most readily available bottles are going to be dry examples of the variety. With its crisp acidity, refreshing character, and vibrant flavors, it is widely recognized for its dry style. This delightful varietal typically exhibits fruit-forward notes of citrus, green apple, and tropical fruits, along with herbaceous nuances. 

Be sure to check out our shopping guide to the Best Sauvignon Blanc, or head to our post on Best Sweet White Wine if you’re looking for something in the dessert style.