We just celebrated the 4th of July and it is officially summer now! To me, that means drinking more Sauvignon Blanc and other light and refreshing white wines. In this report we will share with you the best Sauvignon Blancs we have covered and recommended over the last several months. As with most wine varietals, we found the best ones to be the most expensive. There are a few exceptions and we will highlight and make a big deal out for those. Finally, don’t just focus on the 90 pointers. Some of the best values and easiest to find Sauvignon Blancs scored 88 points and are Very Good options for you to consider. Please provide your comments and share your feedback on the Sauvignon Blancs that you discover and like best.
We open with our only 92 pointer and our favorite Sauvignon Blanc this year. This year’s honor goes the 2009 Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena, California for $32. It won our mini-blind tasting of high end Sauvignon Blancs earlier this year. You will find it to be medium-bodied, balanced, elegant, and pleasantly crisp. It’s very tasty mild green pear flavors with green apple and a touch of minerality won over the panel. It is very impressive and food-friendly. We suggested pairing it with grilled swordfish.
Our next wine and our first 91 pointer is the best deal and the steal of the year in terms of Sauvignon Blanc. The 2010 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand returns to glory with this year’s offering. At $15 it would be a steal. There were 360,000 bottles made, so it should not be a problem to find one. It opens with a classic moderate gooseberry bouquet with a hint of yellow grapefruit. On the palate, this wine is light-bodied and very quaffable. I loved its pleasant blend of mild grapefruit and gooseberry flavors with a touch of minerality and lime. I love this food-friendly style of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Like the Phelps, I would serve it with grilled swordfish.
Our next wine is always at the top of our Sauvignon Blanc results. The 2009 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River Valley was well received by the panel. At $30 it is for serious Sauvignon Blanc fans. But it will definitely be a crowd pleaser and it won’t last long. It is nicely balanced and smooth. The flavor profile is a tasty mild lime with a hint of vanilla oak and green apple. It is very food-friendly and we suggest pairing it with halibut.
Our final 91 pointer was a new wine for us. The Grgich Hills 2009 Fume Blanc from the Napa Valley for $30 was also impressive. Our mini-panel described it as medium-bodied, tangy, and full of life. We enjoyed its tasty ripe grapefruit flavors with hints of lime and green apple. It finishes crisp and refreshing. It would pair well with lemon drizzled sole or ham.
The next grouping is our 90 pointers. These five offerings come from the classic Sauvignon Blanc regions of the world. We start with a wine from France’s Loire Valley. The 2009 Claude Riffault “Les Boucauds” Sauvignon Blanc for $20 is specifically from Sancerre. On the palate, this wine was light-bodied, balanced, and quite flavorful. Those flavors are a tangy lime and tangerine blend with hints of green pear. It will be a great complement for grilled swordfish.
Our next wine is from Clos Pegase. Their 2009 “Mitsuko’s Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc for $20 is Very Good and with over 1,000 cases made, it should be easy to find. I found it to be balanced and slightly creamy with tasty green apple flavors with notes of gentle minerality and a touch of oak towards the back palate. This very nice Sauvignon Blanc would pair perfectly with white vegetable lasagna.
Returning to France, the 2009 Hippolyte Reverdy “Sancerre” for $23 is very fragrant and inviting with its pineapple bouquet with a hint of honeydew melon. On the palate, it is light-bodied, crisp and lively. I enjoyed its mineral-infused apricot flavors with a hint of green melon and white pepper. I suggest serving this wine cool, but not cold, to bring out its best flavors.
The second best Sauvignon Blanc that I covered from New Zealand was the 2009 Saint Clair “Pioneer Block Swamp Block 2” from Marlborough. This 90 point wine comes in at $22 per bottle. This wine is for readers who like all that New Zealand brings to the table. For instance, this wine is rather tangy and a bit tart with its bold lime and ripe grapefruit flavors. There is even a touch of minerality and white pepper mixed in to add to its complexity. So if you are looking for a full-flavored Sauvignon Blanc to drink on the porch this summer, give this wine a whirl. You will be pleasantly rewarded.
Our final 90 point Blanc comes from Quintessa and lists for $40 per bottle. The 2009 Illumination is both elegant and very food-friendly. It is full-bodied, balanced, and quite viscous. It offers up a complex flavor profile including Anjou pear, green apple, minerality, lime, and white pepper. I would pair this delightful Sauvignon Blanc with grilled halibut stuffed with imperial crab meat.
Many of our 89 and 88 point recommendations offer great value. We will present a small hightlight for each wine. Click on the link to find the full review.
Navarro 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Cuvee 128” (Mendocino, CA) $18 (89)
Medium-bodied and crisp with Anjou pear and green apple flavors. Finishes is dry and very refreshing.
Mount Nelson 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) $19 (89)
Very fragrant and a traditional New Zealand styled offering with lime flavors with notes of grapefruit.
Matanzas Creek 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Sonoma County” (CA) $19 (89)
Light-bodied and easy going. Mild mineral-infused green pear and green apple flavors with hints of honey and apricot.
Matetic 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “EQ” (San Antonio Valley, Chile) $20 (89)
Best we tried from Chile. Light-bodied, crisp and citrusy with mild grapefruit with hints of minerality and lemon. Organic.
Mulderbosch 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Western Cape, South Africa) $21 (89)
Best we tried from South Africa. Offers ripe Anjou pear flavors with perfectly infused-minerality. Dry and pleasant.
Vincent Delaporte 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Chavignol”(Sancerre, Fr.) $26 (89)
Well received by the panel. Light-bodied and refined with very tasty mild green apple and mellow lemon flavors with a hint of honey.
Kendall Jackson 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Vintners Reserve” (CA) $11 (88)
A terrific value offering. Gentle Anjou Pear flavors with a hint of minerality, lemon, and pineapple.
Bodega Inurrieta 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Orchidea”(Navarra, Spain) $12 (88)
Tangy green apple. Dry and rather refreshing. Consider for a clam bake with steamers.
Cono Sur 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Vision” (Casablanca Valley, Chile) $13 (88)
Tasting panel recommended. Light-bodied and clean. Mild grapefruit flavors with a touch of minerality and tangerine.
Murphy Goode 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “The Fume” (North Coast, CA) $13 (88)
Medium-bodied and easy going. Panel suggested pairing with steamed mussels with sun dried tomatoes.
Simonsig 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Sunbird”(Stellenbosch, South Africa) $14 (88)
Another great deal. This South African was very well received by a mini-panel. Perfect for ham dishes.
Oberon 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Napa Valley” (CA) $14 (88)
Medium-bodied and balanced. Quite versatile and food-friendly. It would pair well with chicken picatta.
Buitenverwachting 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Constantia, South Africa) $14 (88)
Balanced and easy going. Very versatile and food-friendly. It would nicely complement to breaded baked sole.
Joseph Carr 2009 Sauvignon Blanc(Napa Valley, CA) $15 (88)
Round with a soft mouthfeel. Gentle grapefruit flavors with a hint of Anjou pear. Very approachable.
Roth 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Alexander Valley” (CA) $15 (88)
Medium-bodied, crisp, and a touch viscous. Mineral-infused Anjou pear with hints of spice and lime.
Thelema 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Sutherland”(Elgin, South Africa) $15 (88)
Light-bodied, crisp and tangy. Mineral-infused slightly tart green apple flavors with a hint of lime.
Ferrari Carano 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Fume Blanc”(Sonoma County) $15 (88)
Slightly tart lime flavors with infused minerality and notes of grapefruit. Finishes crisp and refreshing.
Villa Maria 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Cellar Selection” (Marlborough, NZ) $18 (88)
Light-bodied and tangy with tart lime and green apple flavors. Notes of white grapefruit, green pepper and a touch of minerality.
Charles Krug 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “St. Helena” (CA) $18 (88)
Lush and juicy. Mineral-infused apricot flavors with a touch of tangerine. Pair with shrimp cocktail.
Patient Cottat 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Vielles Vignes”(Sancerre, Fr) $20 (88)
Light-bodied and citrusy. Mild mineral-infused grapefruit with a hint of apricot. Serve w/grilled chicken Caesar salad.
Merriam 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Willowside” (Russian River, CA) $20 (88)
Tangy grapefruit with a touch of green apple and peach. This wine will pair well with Emeril’s Coquilles St. Jacques.
Stolpman 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Estate Grown” (Santa Ynez, CA) $22 (88)
Flavor profile is a honeyed green apple with notes of banana and carmelized sugar, like a creme brulee topping.
Below are the rest of our Very Good and Good recommendations:
1. Buitenverwachting 2010 S. Blanc “Beyond” (Coastal Region, SA) $12 (87)
2. Clayhouse 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (Paso Robles, CA) $14 (87)
3. Santa Barbara Winery 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez, CA) $15 (87)
4. Franciscan 2008 Sauvignon Blanc “Napa” (CA) $16 (87)
5. Shannon Ridge 2009 S. Blanc “Ranch Collection” (Lake County, CA) $16 (87)
6. Saint Clair 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) $18 (87)
7. Mt. Beautiful 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (N. Canterbury, New Zealand) $20 (87)
8. Napa Station 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Napa Valley” (CA) $14 (86)
We hope you enjoy exploring these Sauvignon Blancs this summer. I know I did! Be sure to comment below on your favorites.
Cheers – Ken
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