Best Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white wine varietals around the world. It's a green-skinned grape that can produce a light straw-colored wine that has a slight green tint. The flavors in this wine can also run on the green side, with notes of grass and herbs predominating in this crisp, acidic wine. This dry, crisp quality makes it a favorite to pair with fish and shellfish dishes.
There are two main styles of Sauvignon Blanc. Grapes grown in cooler climates will produce less sugar, leading to a more acidic wine that features grassy flavors and bitter citrus peel on the nose. In warmer climates, these grapes are much sweeter, leading to wines with strong flavors of tropical fruit and sometimes candy. In general, the first style is preferred, since the crispness of this wine is what made it popular in the first place. That said, there are plenty of people who love the off-dry quality of a warm-weather Sauvignon Blanc, which is often referred to as Fume Blanc, especially in Northern California.
A relatively light-bodied wine, Sauvignon Blanc is quick to mature in the bottle and is usually best within a few years of harvest. This quick turn-around has made it a popular varietal with winemakers who are just starting out.
Best Sauvignon Blanc Overall:
Endemic to Northern France and now cultivated all around the world, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white wine grapes. It's a naturally acidic grape, with flavors of tart fruit and greenery, including herbs and grass. When choosing the best Sauvignon Blanc, we looked for wines that highlight the natural qualities of the grape, without overwhelming the palate with a harsh acidic bite. The wines on this list are all from 2011 and 2012, which were two excellent years for many regions known for their Sauvignon Blanc. 2012 is a more popular year not because the grapes were more flavorful, but because there were more of them than in 2011, which got a late start in many regions. Finally, we looked for wines that were popular with critics and award winners at international competitions.
Acidic and quite dry, Framingham Sauvignon Blanc '12 is nonetheless an aromatic, fruit forward wine with a great deal of complexity. The bouquet has notes of citrus zest, tropical fruit, and herbs, while the flavor shows off both the tropical fruit notes of warm-climate sauvignon and the green herbal flavors of sauvignon grown in cooler climates. You'd be hard-pressed to find a wine with better balance. Read Full Review
An off-dry Sauvignon Blanc with flavors of vanilla, marshmallow, cantaloupe, and pear, and aromas of grapefruit, nectarine, and lemon curd, Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc '12 is one of our favorite wines. The grapes that went into this vintage are an incredible quality. This is an intense, flavorful wine made all the more complex by partial aging in oak barrels. Read Full Review
Consistently scoring in the 90s with professional wine critics, Cakebread Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc '12 is an excellent wine from one of the best years in recent history. This wine is bold and complex, with aromas of citrus, tropical fruit, and vanilla, and flavors of tropical fruit that are well balanced by the wine's natural acidity and a note of minerality. Though it's excellent now, this wine will be at its peak between 2016 and 2019. Read Full Review
A cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc made in the classic style of Northern France, Robert Oatley Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc '11 is a dry, acidic, and intensely flavorful wine. It has grass and citrus on the palate and tropical fruit on the nose, without even a hint of sweetness in the wine itself. If you like your Sauvignon Blanc clean, crisp, and bold, this is a great choice. Read Full Review
Though many California Sauvignon Blanc wines show off the fruit-forward style of grapes grown in warmer climates, Stag's Leap makes an excellent wine in the classic Old World style, with lots of green flavors and aromas of bitter citrus peel. This wine is acidic, dry, and crisp and well-regarded by wine critics. Read Full Review
Best Sauvignon Blanc under $20:
Many of the best Sauvignon Blancs are available for less than $20 a bottle, which is great news for those who want a great wine without dishing out a lot of money. This list of the best Sauvignon Blanc for under $20 is made up of wines that are dry and acidic, as well as those that feature some of the lush tropical flavors commonly seen in wines made in moderately warm climates. These wines are also award winners and high-scorers with professional critics. Finally, we chose wines that are all ready to drink right away. Though you could put any of them away for a year or two, there's really no need with these incredible wines.
Reminiscent of French Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc '12 is an excellent wine made in the dry style. It's acidic and crisp, with notes of citrus and grass, typical for Sauvignon Blanc grown in cool climates. Though this wine is light, it is still vibrant and full-bodied, coming from one of the best years in recent memory. Read Full Review
Hailing from the lesser-known Sonoma Valley just west of California's world-famous Napa Valley, Lake Sonoma Winery Sauvignon Blanc '12 is one of our favorite wines for under $20. It's light, crisp, and acidic, with a clean finish that isn't softened by excessive residual sugar. The aromatics include lemon and stone, which perfectly compliment the wine's bold citrus flavors. Read Full Review
A single vineyard wine that scores in the mid-90s with wine critics, Hewitson LuLu Sauvignon Blanc '12 is one of our favorite wines. It's crisp and incredibly acidic, with a clean, dry finish. The flavor has a bit of tropical fruit to it, which rounds out this wine nicely. Read Full Review
Made in South Africa, in a climate ideally suited to sauvignon blanc grapes, Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc '12 is a tart, bold wine with a complex, well-balanced flavor profile. It's yellow-green in color, and has notes of stone, citrus, and juicy grapefruit that even out into a crisp, dry finish. Read Full Review
At first sip, Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has a rush of fruit and a touch of sweetness that balance out the herbal aromas that predominate on the nose. As the wine nears its finish, the sweetness dries up and you're left with a crisp, acidic wine with citrus notes characteristic of this varietal. Read Full Review