Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most popular white wines. Made from green-skinned grapes, two of the wine’s trademark characteristics are crisp acidity and intense aromatics. It can also be grown in a range of climates from France to New Zealand to California, where it sometimes goes by the name Fumé Blanc.
While Sauvignon Blanc was most likely created in Bordeaux, it is the variety in two of the most famous wines from France’s Loire Valley, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The cooler climate of the Loire helps create compounds called pyrazines, which contribute to grassy, herbal or green bell-pepper flavors in the wine. The grape still does have a strong showing in Bordeaux, however, where it is typically blended with Sémillon for the region’s dry and sweet wines, specifically within Graves and Sauternais.
More than 1,000 Sauvignon Blancs or Sauvignon Blanc-based blends were tasted by our reviewers in 2019, so there’s plenty out there to consider. Instead, we turned to our annual top lists to compile a hit list of nine Sauvies to buy now. While the highest-rated bottle may be from a surprising region, beloved Sancerre and New Zealand Savvy Bs still have a strong presence.
Wohlmuth 2017 Ried Hochsteinriegl Sauvignon Blanc (Südsteiermark); $45, 95 points. Subtle elderflower, fern and grass on the nose attain an incredibly rounded richness on the palate. The green tartness is plumped out with Mirabelle plum ripeness and buffered by a rich, creamy texture while a sparky streak of lemon zest keeps everything focused. Texture, fruit and freshness combine in a most winning fashion. Drink 2020–2030. VOS Selections. Cellar Selection. —Anne Krebiehl, MW
Domaine Fouassier 2017 Le Clos De Bannon (Sancerre); $50, 93 points. Biodynamically grown grapes from a small walled vineyard produce this beautifully balanced wine. Its clean lines and crisp acidity contrast with hints of tropical fruit and are all part of a wine that has a strong future. The wine’s structure and flinty texture should soften over the years. Drink from 2021. Opici Wines. Cellar Selection. —Roger Voss
Margerum 2018 Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara); $21, 92 points. Crisp pear flesh, lemon rind and white-flowers show on the nose of this always zesty, refreshing bottling by Doug Margerum. There’s a stony grip to the sip, where citrus and Asian pear flavors compete for attention against the tremendously chalky texture. —Matt Kettmann
Domaine Anthony & David Girard 2018 Les Montes Damnés (Sancerre); $23, 91 points. A light touch of spice from partial wood fermentation has added to the richness of this wine. That is balanced against the steely edge of acidity and minerality. This wine is almost ready but will be better from early 2020. Weygandt-Metzler. —R.V.
Nobilo 2018 Icon Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough); $20, 91 points. Despite a tough vintage, this wine is showing all of the hallmarks of classic Marlborough Sauvignon. Aromas and flavors of snow peas, tropical and citrus fruits and touches of salty oyster shell are ensconced in a creamy texture and deftly balanced by citrusy acidity. Constellation Brands, Inc. —Christina Pickard
Hay Maker 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough); $12, 89 points. This is an attractive, perfumed Sauvignon with heaps of lime popsicle, peach blossoms and dried green herbs. The palate is both chalky and slippery in texture, nicely balanced by crunchy acidity, bright fruit and dried herbs. Accolade Wines. Best Buy. —C.P.
Oak Grove 2018 Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (California); $9, 89 points. Crisp and tangy, this light- to medium-bodied wine offers tones of citrus, green apple and a touch of tropical fruit. It is smooth and easy to enjoy. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon
Santa Carolina 2018 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Leyda Valley); $12, 87 points. Spunky aromas of grapefruit and lime are typical for Leyda SB. A fairly full palate feels a bit oily, while this is briny and mildly salty tasting, with lime as the core flavor. A steady finish with moderate fullness and bright acidity is solid. Carolina Wine Brands USA. Best Buy. —Michael Schachner
Barton & Guestier 2018 Réserve Sauvignon Blanc (Côtes de Gascogne); $9, 86 points. This grassy, herbal Sauvignon Blanc conveys touches of white grapefruit and gooseberry. Light and crisply textured, it finishes with a squeeze of lemon. Drink now. Barton & Guestier USA. Best Buy. —R.V.