SBS wine and food pairing – Dover sole, capers and lemon

What goes well with SBS wine?

Sauvignon Blanc–Semillon is a white wine blend made famous in Bordeaux, southern France.

You’ve probably heard of Chateau d’Yquem from the Sauternes region in southern Bordeaux. The world famous sweet wine is made from 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Chateau d’Yquem also makes a dry white wine called Ygrec made with prominently Sauvignon Blanc and a small amount of Semillon.

The latter is closer to the classic White Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.

The main characteristics of SBS wines are:

  • SBS wines get vibrant acidity and grassy aromas from the Sauvignon Blanc, and structure and mouthfeel from Semillon
  • Margaret River SBS and SSB wines have lemon and grapefruit aromas, and grass, straw and even fresh asparagus

The question of what goes well with SBS wine depends on the blend of Sauvignon Blanc to Semillon as well as the winemaking style and wine terroir.

White Bordeaux blends that are oaked can be matched with chicken, duck, pork and dishes containing other game birds. The weight and texture can go with creamy dishes like risotto, butter-based sauces and even curries.

UMAMU Estate 2016 SBS is made in Margaret River with a 64% to 36% balance of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. A portion of the blend was fermented in French oak to provide complexity and texture.

Below, we will deconstruct a simple but elegant SBS food and wine pairing.

Sparkling wine and food pairing

There are three methods to pair wine with food:

  • Pair body and texture
  • Pair beneficial flavours
  • Pair aromatic compounds

We’ve had a Cordon Bleu trained create a perfect pairing for UMAMU Estate 2016 SBS. Let’s run through each of the three methods.

Pair body and texture

The addition of barrel-aged Semillon to the UMAMU Estate 2016 SBS blend adds background complexity and texture. These can be picked up in the toasty aromas. These pair well with the smoky and toasty aromas from pan-frying the Dover sole.

Pair beneficial flavours

Acidity in the SBS stimulates the appetite and acts as a wonderful palate cleanser to the Dover sole. Bitterness from the capers creates a need for sweetness, which is provided by the SBS wine pairing.

Pair aromatic compounds

Limonene is the dominant aroma compound in the oil of citrus fruits. As an artificial additive, it’s found in cleaning products with a lemony fragrance. Limonene is a naturally occurring terrapin in Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and create aromatic synergy with the lemon juice in this Dover sole food and wine pairing.

P.S. – You can read our complete guide to understanding food & wine pairing here.

Sauvignon Blanc–Semillon (SBS) with Dover sole, capers & lemon


  • Dover sole
  • butter
  • capers
  • lemon
  • gauze


  1. Heat up knob of butter in the great frying pan and as the butter melts, the pan warms up a bit. Place in gently the Dover sole and leave it alone.  Medium heat.  Let it sizzle slowly so that the fish gets to cook.  Key is not to over cook but still cook it and get the outside crisp and nicely brown.
  2. Then use the non stick flat ended device to ease the fish over to cook the other side.  For a regular size sole, would be about 4 mins each side.
  3. Then ease using the non stick flat under the sole and the wooden spoon to just hold it tight above the sole to lift the sole out and onto a nice oval plate.  Add in the capers to the remaining butter to crunch them up then pop ontop of the sole.
  4. Wrap a halved lemon in gauze and pop next to the sole (the gauze keeps the seeds away from the fish).

P.S. – You can buy UMAMU Estate 2016 SBS here.