Looking for something to keep you sane during the lockdown, then how about a soothing glass of Sauvignon Blanc? We bring you five brilliant bottles on the market right now.
Holding a position as the world’s favourite grape, Sauvignon Blanc is loved by wine drinkers for its crisp citrus-flavoured refreshment, as well as that prickle of lemon grass and gooseberry, sometimes touch of peach and passion fruit too, depending on where and how it’s grown.
It’s also a remarkably versatile grape, planted worldwide in a wide range of climes, and handled by cellar masters in all manner of ways – there’s even sparkling Sauvignon Blanc should you want to try something more aromatic than Prosecco.
But what we brought you below is a five-strong selection of the best examples of Sauvignon Blanc from a broad selection of places and made in different ways – from the light and delicate to the rich and textured – even barrel-fermented.
We also cover an array of prices, from the inexpensive, good value offering to the pricier fine Sauvignon Blanc – yes, this variety can be used to make powerful, long-lived and barrel-aged wines, even if such a style of white is more famously based on the Chardonnay grape.
How have these wines been selected? Well, I have gone through the top medallists from the latest Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters and picked out five top performers according to price and style.
So, read on for a brief selection of soothing Sauvignons for lockdown and beyond, because these wines are stunning pours whether you’re stuck at home on your own or, when the constraints of our current time come to an end, out with friends and family.
And if you want to see the results in full, including extensive analysis on the stylistic trends taking hold today, then read our report on the Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters by clicking here.
The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc, 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand
While there are many sub £10 Sauvignons on the market – particularly on the shelves of UK retailers – this sample from Marlborough in New Zealand seriously impressed the judges in November’s The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters for the quality of wine for the price.
Just squeezing below the £10 cut-off in its tasting category, it has masses of character for the money, with the Marlborough hallmark aromatics of gooseberry and tomato leaf, and, once in the mouth, flavours of passion fruit too, providing some softness, along with the zesty acidity.
Hailing from the Yealands Wine Group, it’s good to also know that this Sauvignon Blanc is made with sustainability in mind, with this company using renewable energy to power its production, and natural methods in the vineyard, including mulching its vines with a compost mix incorporating spent mussel shells from the New Zealand seafood industry.
Woodchester Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, 2018
When tasting a wide range of wines ‘blind’, which means with no prior knowledge of source area or producer, it’s always satisfying to find out afterwards that a top performer hailed from an unexpected place.
And this was certainly true of our latest Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters, when it was revealed that one of the few Gold medals awarded to wines at the cheaper end of the spectrum was a sample from England.
Coming from Woodchester Valley Vineyard in Gloucestershire’s picturesque Cotswolds, it was an exciting discovery, with masses of lemon grass and elderflower on the nose and palate, making for an aromatic and inviting glass of white.
Pa Road Sauvignon Blanc, 2019
If you’re a fan of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and looking for great value for money from the region, then the wines of te Pa Family Vineyards are a good place to go.
Although this wine just squeaks over the £10 psychological mark for wine buyers, if you can make the stretch, then this is a great example of its type, with lots of grapefruit and gooseberry flavours, mixed with a touch of white-fleshed peach, and that crisp sensation that comes with cool-climate Sauvignon, a bit like biting into a crunchy green pepper.
Nepenthe Pinnacle Petraea, 2018
Australia, you may be surprised to learn, is a huge consumer of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, offering proof that Aussies love Savvy B just as much as the rest of the world.
Although Australia may be best known its production of full flavoured, rich whites from the Chardonnay grape, the country can also craft light, refreshing, nettle-scented wines from Sauvignon – after all, it has a long history of producing delicious, bone dry and searingly crisp Rieslings and Semillons from regions such as the Clare and Hunter valleys respectively.
So, our next Sauvignon star is Aussie, and hails from the Adelaide Hills, an area of altitudinous vineyards in the Mount Lofty Ranges outside the city of Adelaide.
This wine is a little different from the others mentioned above, and the clue comes with its name: Petraea, which is the species of Quercus, or oak, used to make French barriques – commonly used to age Chardonnay in Australia and worldwide.
So, this Sauvignon has seen some influence from oak, with the wine matured in large-format French barrels to bring some creamy flavours and texture to its dominant flavours of peach, lemon and sage.
The combination is delicious, with the added richness from the wood used during the winemaking process making this Sauvignon suitable for sipping before dinner, but also serving with a range of foods, if not heavy red-meat based feasts.
Jayson by Pahlmeyer Sauvignon Blanc 2018
If you like the sound of the last Sauvignon, which had a touch of creamy richness from a gentle wood influence, then you are likely to be excited by our next wine, which has been fermented and matured in French oak barrels.
Called Jayson, and made by Napa’s Pahlmeyer Winery, this Sauvignon has some of the hallmarks of great Californian Chardonnay – vanilla, cream and pineapple fruit – mixed with the former grape’s classic crisp zippy traits.
So, as a Sauvignon Blanc grown in a warm climate and treated to the usual treatment for fine ripe grapes – ageing in barrels – this is a white with masses of peach and pear fruit, and a note of cashew nuts, along with a slightly oily texture, but a crisp lemony finish.
This is a delicious Sauvignon Blanc, but also a lovely fine weighty white wine that would appeal to the Chardonnay lover too.
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