7 Great Sauvignon Blancs for Summer

How did popular New Zealand fare?


2010 Omaka Springs Estates Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 13%
Pretty and perfumed with lovely floral and herb notes over a core of crisp gooseberry, melon and nectarine fruits. This really glides onto the tongue with a lovely vibrancy, but on a human scale. The fruit is juicy, fresh and bright recalling the aromas on the nose. The back end is bright, vibrant and transparent with a final mineral note entwined with some citrus pith and a lingering mélange of lime and passionfruits. A winner! 90pts

2009 Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 13%

Pungent aromas of cat’s pee, chilies and green nectarines greet the nose with a huge melony follow-through. Rather restrained in the mouth with a soft but juicy feel. This has some rich fruit with nice cut on the mid-palate, and rich mango and nectarine flavors that drive through on the moderately long finish. A touch soft, perhaps, but quite typical NZ SB. 88pts

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2010 Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Val de Leyda Chila, 13.5%

Lots of cut grass and pineapple on the nose with a touch of orange peel and a hint of dusty minerality. Quite fruity on entry with passion fruit and papaya up front and rolling across the mid-palate. This is round and nicely fleshy with good backing acids that drive the modest, mineral-edged finish. 87pts

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2009 Coopers Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, 13%

Gooseberry and pine on the nose with a distinct dose of asparagus. Nice feel in the mouth with certain richness but remaining light and elegant. The flavors are rather distinctive with lots of canned asparagus over a core of crisp green plum fruit. The asparagus integrates with time, but remains distinct here and will be off-putting to some. 87pts

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2010 Indaba Sauvignon Blanc South Africa, 13.5%

Kind of low-toned on the nose with sweet dried chili notes over a bed of preserved lime. Soft and light-bodied with some roundness and nicely integrated acidity. The flavors are a bit simple with an orange/pineapple vibe and a hint of buffering sweetness lending this an easy appeal. Finishes with nice length and good clarity to the mineral and grapefruit flavors. Laidback and a bit easy, but with an appealing set of fresh flavors. 86pts

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2010 Kenwood Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%

Peachy and zesty on the nose with nice citrus blossom aromas and hints of lime leaf. Pineapple and ripe citrus fruits on entry firm up a bit on the mid-palate, but this remains rather opulent in the mouth. There’s a lot of flavor here, and it’s pretty well-supported by the acidity, which dominates the finish as the fruit drops away fairly quickly. 85pts

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2008 Y3 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 14.6%

All pithy pink grapefruit and melon aromas on the nose, with nice hints of lilac and mineral adding some complexity. Lush and opulent in the mouth with a rather soft feel and rich, slightly honied melon flavors. A bit loose in the mouth and short. 83pts

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Want to learn more?

Read more at New Zealand: The Discovery of Fine Wine

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  • Snooth User: llokey16
    452264 19

    My favorite Sauvignon Blancs come from Central Coast of CA from Fiddlehead Cellars. Their Happy Canyon is my favorite of their 3.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

  • Snooth User: huli
    207101 3

    Marlborough is not the only region producing Sauvignon Blanc in NZ. There are different styles depending on the climate and soils. On the limestone hills around Hawkes Bay for instance the style is more akin to Sancerre with a mineral backbone and gooseberry flavours and lower acids and are a fantastic match with seafood.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:55 PM

  • Personally, I think the Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc from Sileni Estate (based in Hawke's Bay, but the Sauvignon grapes come from vineyards in marlborough) is a real winner ... for the average wine drinker. Well-made, clean and savoury. But what's more, considering it's price it's a steal ! euro 6,95

    However, the best Sauvignon's I have tasted come form the ''Old World''. Yes, of course there's the Loire Valley in France. But what really blew my mind were the Sauvignon's from Switzerland (Louis Bovard in Vaud) and norhern Italy (Vie di Romans in Friuli and Tiefenbrunner + Cantina Terlano in Alto Adige)! Try these Sauvignon wines, you will not regret it (only your wallet, maybe, 'cause they do not come cheap).

    May 16, 2011 at 7:26 PM

  • Snooth User: Buster10
    366728 1

    'pungent aroma of cat's pee'

    Good grief!!!

    Tell Dal Piaz he needs to get over himself and his airs and go get a life

    May 16, 2011 at 7:46 PM

  • Snooth User: erniex
    634476 60

    Thanks for shedding fresh light to a great variety done so very well in so many places with various expressions, but what happened to the Bordeaux examples you mentioned in your intro? Its seems like the hype of red Bordeaux have completely pushed their whites out of the picture. Often blended with Semillon this is by many seriously overlooked wine, awesome drinking, with food none the least, and the best even ages impressively.
    If you want to benchmark the current status of NZ SB, how can you leave out the starting point of the variety? Or for that matter the Loire?
    Many great places to source your SB´s, but don´t deny yourself to try the mother of them all.. Even if the daughter looks more appealing at first glance.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:05 PM

  • Snooth User: lbgutman
    664940 18

    My favoraite NZ Sav Blanc is Dog Point

    May 17, 2011 at 10:57 AM

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