With summer upon us the consumption of Sauvignon Blanc is about to explode! Of the four giants of the wine world, which includes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, no wine is as seasonal as little old Sauvy. It’s light, crisp character just screams ‘drink me this summer’, and with so many other options appearing on retailers shelves and competing for our attention it’s not surprising that we become more adventurous throughout the year, but when the summer hits, we want old, zesty reliable.

There are essentially three style of Sauvignon Blanc in the marketplace today. The mineral style most closely associated with France’s Sancerre, the full on New Zealand style that celebrates the herbal and tropical fruit qualities Sauvignon Blanc is capable of, and finally the Fume Blanc, barrel aged style that was popularized in California. Each has its virtues, and while many people seem to have a favorite, and to a certain extent feel free to disparage the other styles as somehow less worthy, I am of the mind to celebrate Sauvy in all its broad diversity. I’ll be tasting a case every other week or so stay tuned for some of your favorites! Now on with the show.

2011 Santa Barbara Winery Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley 13.7% $17

Complex and slightly earthy on the nose with a touch of used wood  adding a touch of sweetness to the core of citrus laced apricot fruit that even shows a touch of strawberry fruitiness. This has a gorgeous texture, all silky, medium bodied and fine with just a suggestion of tannins and astringency that create superb tension in the mouth. the flavors are complex and well integrated, with lovely citrus, floral and stone fruit flavors. The finish continues the theme with excellent length and complexity. This is really a compelling example of Sauvignon Blanc. Bravo! 92pts

2011 Apex Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 13% $18

A bit chalky and stemmy on the nose with a lot of dried herb and slightly dried fruit character that shows a certain peppery spiciness. A vein of assertive acidity greets the tongue, which is then followed by a lovely richness and depth of fruit that is intense yet not sweet tasting. there’s lots of pineapple, green apple and citrus flavors but they do show a certain sense of restraint, gaining complexity on the backend from some light mineral and lime zest notes that drive the long, zesty finish. Powerfully built but showing excellent balance. 91pts

2012 Peju Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 13.5% $22

This smells a little leesy and floral on the nose with faint shadings of oak and some minerally, dusty lemon notes and just a suggestion of peach. Rather opulent on entry though with plenty of acidity keeping this focused and taut in the mouth. There’s some terrific, bright and juicy pineapple flavors early on the palate followed by a little orchard fruit and passion fruit top notes driving through the backend.  The finish is just a touch short but clean and refreshing with a hint of something herbal and lime rind notes on the finale.  This is lovely combining a bit of elegance with a bit of power. 91pts

2012 Voss Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 12% $17

A little smoky and decidedly grassy on the nose which is pungent and kind of precise with its fine quince and grapefruit aromas.  Just a touch diffuse on entry, this is bright and tart on the palate with subtly layered flavors of green herbs, green citrus zest and ripe apple fruit. This is almost silky in the mouth and the balance makes this seem deceptively simple but this is a very complete, subtle bottle that will prove too subtle for some but for my palate this is a great summer sipper. The finish is long and sapid, with a salty edge to the lemon rind flavors. this is delicious.  89ps

2012 Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford Napa Valley 12.9% $20

Clear and focused on the nose with a golden raspberry tone to the faintly herbal and slightly medicinal aromas of fennel, lemon pith and stone. This is very broad in the mouth with a very light, gauzy texture. The acidity is well integrated adding a bit of brightness to the core of soft, slightly creamy apple and green plum fruit flavors. A bit of minerality adds some detail to the modest finish.  This is understated and quite elegant with a certain air of refinement to it. 88pts

2011 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Potter Valley Mendocino Ca. 13.5% $18

Reticent on the nose with faint lemon oil and crab apple aromas. Broad and transparent in the mouth, this shows some lovely tart peach flavors framed with creamy key lime notes. A bit short though with a nice cleansing mineral note on the finish, this is easy to drink and well made though it does lack some intensity. In truth a bit of time in the glass does help perk things up here, adding a little depth to the fruit and considerable length to the finish. 87pts

2012 Root:1 Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 12.5% $12

A bit subtle but nicely complex with dried herb, citrus and slightly nutty aromas. Rather easy going on entry, perhaps deceptively so, this does show a fine acidic spine and easy drinking medium weight on the palate with restrained and slightly creamy texture that shows a nice base of orange and candied pineapple fruit with almost a gingery cast to it. The finish is very clean but short as well. 86pts

2012 Glazebrook Sauvignon Blanc Regional Reserve Marlborough New Zealand 13% $15

Full on nose of green chilies, gooseberry and even some asparagus is pungent and obvious. Grassy on entry with a flash of acidity that is quickly balanced by some sweetness on the palate. I can this being very popular with it’s sweet/tart nature and simple if clean flavors of sweet grapefruit and pineapple but this turns a bit sticky on the modest finish. Easy drinking party wine.  84pts

2012 Peñalolen Sauvignon Blanc Limari Valley Chile 12.5% $14

A little smoky and earthy on the nose with a touch of passion fruit rinds and pithy grapefruit aromas. Small and tart on entry, this quickly reveals a sweet wrapping of orange cream and almost peachy fruit buffering the acidity. This lacks a bit of focus on the palate, but does deliver a fairly rich and creamy mouthful of fruit that finishes with cleansing acids and some astringent grapefruit flavors. 84pts

2012 Leyda Classic Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Valley Chile 13.5% $12

Pungent and spicy on the nose with subtle layers of green chile, pineapple and tarragon aromas. Bright and direct, this turns slightly rich on the mid-palate with plenty of material and perhaps a little sugar buffering the significant acidity. The backend sees the acidity popping out to the detriment of the modest fruit which mostly washes away on the zesty, moderately long finish. This is nicely aromatic but lacks some depth of flavor. 82pts

2012 Tower 15 Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles 13.2% $18

A bit dull on the nose with almost sweet aromas of fig, almond and apple butter. This is slightly floral on entry with a moderately rich, loosely knit texture that delivers fairly intense fig, grilled pineapple and plum flavors to the palate, finishing quickly with a touch of astringency. 80pts

2011 Tortoise Creek Wines Sauvignon Blanc “Cuvee Jeanne” Cotes-de-Gascogne 12% $12

Leafy on the nose with some heirloom apple aromas topped with notes of green chile and cut grass. Broad and a touch soft on entry, this is in an easy drinking style that delivers modest peachy flavors on the palate. The finish is modest with a nice mineral twang on the finale. Simple and easy. 80pts