Grassy, Herbaceous and More: Sauvignon Blanc From Around the (New) World

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Sauvignon Blanc is a bit of a chameleon, adapting completely to its surrounding climatic environment. Depending on its provenance, the flavor profile can range from grassy and herbaceous to floral and citrusy. Though it is an Old World white—Bordeaux born, in fact—it has also found its roots in other regions around the world, namely those in the New World, including California, New Zealand, and Chile. Its zesty electricity and myriad flavor permutations make it an easy choice for anytime sipping.

A Six-Bottle Master Class to Sauvignon Blanc

Massican 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley); $32, 95 points. This is winemaker Dan Petroski’s nod to the Sauvignons of northern Italy. Lemony and sleek, it conjures notes of wet stone, brine and complex, layered acidity, with a lasting tease of green apple and lemongrass. —Virginie Boone

Clos Henri 2019 Petit Clos Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough); $18, 94 points. Another stellar wine from this quality-driven producer and an excellent vintage, the bang-for-buck factor delivers extra strong here. Notes of soft gunflint and seashell tuck beneath bright citrus and stone fruit, grass and dried green herbs. The palate strikes a lovely balance between texture and zingy acidity. Flinty, mineral nuances run beside juicy citrus right to the long finish. This may be less ageworthy than Henri’s upper tier Sauvignon, but it’s utterly delicious drinking right now. Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd. Editors’ Choice. —Christina Pickard

Joseph Phelps 2019 Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc (St. Helena): $45, 94 points. Offering tremendous value for the price, this is a lively, seamless and textured white wine from estate grapes that shows elegance and length. Green apple, apricot and lemongrass highlight a sublime core of integrated finesse and complexity. Editors’ Choice. —V.B.

Estancia 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Monterey County); $12, 92 points. Clean and sharp aromas of lime and pomelo pith converge with rounded nectarine and blooming honeysuckle on the complex nose of this bottling. It’s tight on the palate, combining zesty Meyer lemon peel with richer elderflower flavors. Best Buy. —Matt Kettmann

Concha y Toro 2019 Terrunyo Los Boldos Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley); $26, 91 points. Crisp, citric aromas are pure and minerally, with only the slightest hint of prickly green herbs. A fresh, wholesome palate is crystalline and bright, balanced by a mix of citrus, green herb and peppery flavors. A long and cleansing finish rides a beam of lively acidity. Drink through 2021. Fetzer Vineyards. —Michael Schachner

Craggy Range 2019 Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc (Martinborough); $22, 91 points. This vintage of Craggy Range’s classic Martinborough SB favors grassy, green herbal notes, woven with zesty lemon-lime, passion fruit and seashell nuances. As it warms in the glass, it offers more generous fruit. The palate is zesty, with green herbal notes riding straight through to the finish. There’s a lovely balance of texture and acidity with length and freshness, it’s just a baby, and could benefit from another year in the bottle. Kobrand. —C.P.

Cloudy Bay 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough); $31, 90 points. This vintage of Marlborough’s most famous label is a balanced, refreshing drop. Bright aromas of grapefruit, peaches n’ cream, lemongrass and tomato leaf lead to a palate that crunches with acidity while also being slippery and juicy-fruited. A summer sipper with or without food. Moët Hennessy USA. —C.P.

Errazuriz 2019 Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (Aconcagua); $20, 90 points. Lean, punchy aromas of celery, jalapeño and citrus fruits include a pop of cool-coast pyrazines. A pure mouthfeel, with crispness and acidity frames green-leaning flavors of bell pepper and tangerine, while this holds the line on a clean finish with latent acidity. Vintus LLC. —M.S.

We Recommend:

La Crema 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County); $25, 90 points. Given time in both oak and stainless steel, this lively white is grassy and lively in stone fruit, with an enduring crispness to the texture. Bright and food-friendly, it offers wide appeal and elegance. —V.B.

Tortoise Creek 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Central Coast); $12, 90 points. Broad aromas of yellow apple meet with crisp citrus peel and cold steel on the nose of this bottling. The palate packs riper baked peach flavors with clean lines of lemon zest and pleasant white flower. Best Buy. —M.K.

Published on March 26, 2021
Topics: Buying Guide