The SBOF (‘Sauvignon Blanc Only’ friend).

not a control freak

You’re rounding out a divine lunch with your girlfriends.  Many bottles of sparkling have been drained, conversations are becoming more and more animated (what’s the point of an ‘inside voice’ anyway?) and the group is trying to decide on a white to go with the cheese platter.  Enter the SBOF (‘Sauvignon Blanc Only’ Friend) with their claims of ‘I only drink sauvignon blanc’ and bam! Your ideas of cracking open an off-dry riesling or lightly-oaked chardonnay to set off those cheeses come crashing down…You don’t have the energy to fight this fight today.  Another sauvignon blanc it is.

That’s harsh! What’s not to love?

Now, don’t get me wrong I really do love a good Australian or New Zealand Sav B.  They’re fresh and zingy with tantalising flavours that include citrus, passionfruit, gooseberry and green capsicum, which make them a smooth accompaniment to many cuisines.  Sauvignon blanc is also good quaffing wine to sip without a meal and, let’s face it, even with our best intentions at heart, us Australians do a whole lot of drinking without any food in sight.

For all these reasons, it’s perhaps no surprise that sauvignon blanc accounts for close to 40% of all white wine sales in Australia[i].  Staggering really when you consider the huge range of local whites on offer and the fact that a strong Aussie dollar is driving the price of previously expensive foreign wines down.

The fate of Savvy B?

So, where will Australia’s (and the SBOF’s) love affair with Savy B lead us?   I have heard a wine expert claim that it’s incredible popularity will mean it takes the same road as Riesling.  That being the path Riesling travelled where it ended up being produced in huge quantities resembling the cheapest and nastiest of yellow, astringent, feline excrement, more often than not sold in brightly coloured casks.  The best use for this drop was emptying the cask by playing ‘goon of fortune’ around the old hills hoist (not that any one reading this ever played that game or knew anyone that immature…)

hills hoist

Riesling has almost encountered a full pendulum swing, and is now successfully managing to shrug off the ‘cask wine’ image. Though it’s taken a gargantuan effort from producers and retailers to get there, and the image makeover is still not fully complete.

I don’t necessarily agree with the ‘wine expert’ prediction. I’m hopeful our friend Savy B will avoid suffering the same fate.

This is more about people being willing to experiment (well, at least sometimes).  Your SBOF knows what they like (hey, you might even be an SBO gal yourself). There’s no shame in that. In fact, nor should you take any crap from people who condescend or patronise you for being a Sav Blanc lover. They can be exquisite wines and your passion for them is no more or less valuable than a middle aged businessman’s obsession with aged Burgundy or Barossa Shiraz.

What I’d like to see is more SBOFs becoming more open to experimentation. Perhaps even considering asking that good looking waiter for a few other white wine recommendations.  Just so next time we’re all together, the wine choice is not so predictable and we can all have fun opening and discovering new drops together. Including Sauvignon Blancs of course.

A couple of months pass after said lunch and I am holding a dinner party some girlfriends.  Playing hostess, I go to offer them a white – pinot gris, reisling, sauvignon blanc? I venture, cockily thinking I know the answer.  The response comes as cut and dried as the driest of Savy B’s ‘I don’t drink sauvignon blanc’.  Well, maybe times are starting to change…Riesling anyone?

For some ideas to get you or your SBOFs trying some other whites, read ‘The other whites.’

[i] Nielson, Bottled Table Wine Market Update Off-Premise Bottled Red & White Wine Sales, March 2012 in Wine Australia Corporation, Wine Australia Annual Report 2011-2012, p23.




  1. Sarah

    Fabulous Joanna! What a great summary and I can't help but relate to this!! Hilarious take on the modern girls' love affair with wine …

  2. Love this post. So true. SBOF's it's time to get a little adventurous and try something new. I'm sure you'll like it.

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