Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc Producers

10 Sauvignon Blanc producers you need to know about


Producing a top 10 list like this one requires a lot of discipline, and a thick skin! The choices I make reflect my preferences. The truth is that I am looking for a different experience when I choose something like a Sancerre over a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together this list of top producers, remembering that each fulfills a slightly different desire.

In an effort both to be fair and to recognize the global success of Sauvignon Blanc, I’ve filled my list with a wide variety of styles and appellations. This just goes to show that when the warmth of a sunny day makes you think of Sauvignon Blanc, one is never far out of reach.

I’ve also chosen this path to help illustrate the wide variety of wines available to the consumer as I am always hoping to nudge the complacent wine drinker out of his or her comfort zone. There is an amazingly brilliant variety of wine out there folks, come discover something new with my top 10 list of favorite Sauvignon Blanc producers.

Photo courtesy of Outburner via Flickr/cc

Macari Sauvignon Blanc "Katherine's Field" Long Island NY $20

I get to start with a sentimental favorite that is quite literally close at hand. New York’s Long Island wine region has grown through fits and starts over the years, with the focus tending to remain on red wines, wines that have certainly had their underwhelming moments over the years.

Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, has always been a shining star on Long Island. Well adapted to the moronic soil and coastal climate, the wines tend to be crisp and fresh in a lighter style. Macari’s exemplifies the style; light, refreshing and wonderfully transparent, they are worth searching for, or in my case driving over to the vineyard for once in awhile.

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Photo courtesy of wallyg via Flickr/cc

Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch/Elgin South Africa $20

As we work through this list you might come to realize that I am partial to a particular style of Sauvignon Blanc that is light, bright and refreshing, in short. South Africa, with its cool growing season, tends to produce just such a style and Mulderbosch in particular suits my palate quite well.

Lean, focused and crisp in the mouth, Mulderbosch produces a Sauvignon Blanc that packs in plenty of ripe fruit flavors while remaining taut and notably nervous on the palate.

Photo courtesy of DanieVDM via Flickr/cc

Patricia Green Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Oregon $20

I have to admit that I did not know much of Oregon’s Sauvignon Blanc when I was first introduced to Patricia Green’s version of it. Ordered off a wine list not far from the winery, it was a revelation after a week of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Fruity and rich yet packing the classic grapefruit acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, this was a palate cleanser extraordinaire. This may speak more of Patricia Green’s winemaking than Oregon’s terroir, but in any case try to track down a bottle. It is only available from the winery and at select retailers and restaurants in Oregon.

Photo courtesy of turbotumble via Flickr/cc

Casa Silva Sauvignon Blanc Cool Coast Paredones Estate Colchagua Chile $25

Discovering a new source for a familiar wine or a new expression of terroir is always a joy for a jaded wine lover like myself. I am guilty of prejudice and bias just like anyone else, but I am also happy to let the world know of my mistakes. Such is the case with Chile and the country’s quite brilliant Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Until a recent trip to Chile, I had been under the impression that much of their Sauvignon Blanc was rather formulaic and quite commercial in style. Now I know that the best wines are all worth trying. There is a coming together of styles in Chile’s Sauvignon Blanc that blends mineral, fruit and herbaceous notes in a seamless package. Casa Silva Cool Coast is certainly one of the very finest expressions of this marriage.

 

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc Section 94 Marlborough New Zealand $30

I know it will come as no surprise that a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made this list, though the wine I have chosen might. While Dog Point is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc producer, its Section 94 is far from typical.  

Here we have New Zealand meets Pouilly-Fumé. Wild yeast and barrel fermentation mean that this is not simply cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush, but rather a complex, nuanced wine that has a soft, detailed texture; subtle, layered flavors of herbs, earth and fruit; and a smoky edge from the wood. It’s also does remarkably well in the cellar, proving false the theory that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t age. 

Photo courtesy of Megandavid via Flickr/cc
 

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Slideshow View

Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc Producers

1.
Macari Sauvignon Blanc North Fork of Long Island Katherine's Field (2004)
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2.
Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc (2008)
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3.
Patricia Green Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Oregon (2009)
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4.
Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc Casa Silva (2011)
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5.
Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Section 94 (1994)
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6.
Delille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc Columbia Valley (2010)
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7.
Cantina Terlan Sauvignon Blanc Terlano Quarz (2005)
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8.
Cotat Francois Sancerre la Grande Cote (2006)
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9.
Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc Napa Valley Reserve To-Kalon Vineyard (1995)
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10.
Dagueneau Didier Pouilly Fumé Buisson Renard (2005)
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Comments

  • I am glad you mentioned that your list is a personal one and I am sure you are going to need a thick skin releasing one, lol :) My first reaction on this list is that I agree with your choice for Paul Cotat and Didier Dagueneau, two of France's very best Sauvignon producers. Willing to take the risk that all American's will hate me I would never ever put a single American producer in a Top Ten Sauvignon list. Coming to my own speciality, Italian wines, I understand you mention the Quarz of Cantina Terlano. However, having tasted so many Friulian Sauvignons (e.g. Vie di Roman's 2009 Piere Sauvignon) I would never put a SB from Alto Adige/Sudtirol in a Top Ten list if it means leaving out one of Friuli. Dog Point is an excellent NZ producer and also an underdog ... my choice would be a NZ SB from St. Clair Family Estate (Block 11 Snap Block or the Wairau Reserve) or from Cloudy Bay (too famous?). The same goes for SA's Mulderbosch: a quite decent producer, though they stand in the shadow of Neil Ellis or Tokara. Then again, no South American or South African SB would make it into my Top Ten SBs. You are so right mentioning that there are so many different styles of SB in the world. To each his or her own ! :)

    Jun 12, 2012 at 5:31 PM


  • Snooth User: JonDerry
    Hand of Snooth
    680446 3,034

    Interesting points Saffredi...I for one appreciate the diversity in a list like this. Also a big Neil Ellis fan here! Will have to try against the Mulderbosch.

    Jun 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,153

    Looking for diversity in other contexts can be a good thing. Here, when it comes to SB, I'd say in the list above only two would make my top dozen and two more might make my top two dozen. 85% *or more* of the best SBs I've had come from France (am curious why no SB-centric blend from the Graves made the list). CA might have one or two. NZ won't have any for a few more decades, since they just don't yet get it, at least as represented by their export labels. And IMHO, Cloudy Bay is far worse than Dog Point.

    Jul 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM


  • Snooth User: JonDerry
    Hand of Snooth
    680446 3,034

    Welcome back D,

    Good point about the absence of Graves, though all of these wines are less than $100.00, would be interesting to know the QPR superstar of Bordeaux white.

    Jul 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM


  • Snooth User: Foothills2
    Hand of Snooth
    791437 30

    As I curate a portfolio of wines designed for everyday enthusiasts, not collectors, I was surprised by the lack of Kiwi SB's. There's a lot more than just Cloudy Bay coming out of Marlborough - I like Saffredi's point about St. Claire, but would also add Staete Landt to that list.

    dmcker - NZ doesn't get it yet? Beg to differ. It's just a specific style emanating from the land. I prefer to appreciate it for what it is - not to encourage global producers to unify around our a single taste profile.

    Jul 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM


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