Top Value Sauvignon Blanc

The last refuge of affordably typicity?


There aren’t many wines out there where you can score a great example for around $12. Sure there is a lot of inexpensive wine, and some of it is good, but does it speak to you about varietal character? I’m not going to delve into terroir here because frankly that’s a lot to ask of a $12 wine but is it too much to ask your wine to taste like the grapes that were used to make it?

In some case yes it is. It’s simply too difficult to grow great Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo and get it in the bottle for $12 but Sauvignon Blanc on the other hand may very well still be the greatest value wine there is. Simply put the character of Sauvignon Blanc, grassy, citrussy, aromatic, focused and crisp is, for a number of reasons, easy to capture even when growers push their yields up and plant Sauvignon Blanc in less than the perfect place.
One of the reasons for this is simply the fact that many of the traits we tend to look for in Sauvignon Blanc, that crisp acidity, bright flavors, and even the grassy, peppery aromatic component that can make certain Sauvignon Blancs a love it or hate it proposition tend to be significantly developed even when the grapes are less than perfectly, or physiologically ripe. That allows you to plant Sauvignon Blanc in cooler spots, or crop it relatively heavily and still be able to produce a wine that is not only recognizably sauvignon Blanc, but Sauvignon Blanc in a style that many people adore!

So let’s dive in to the value end of the Sauvignon Blanc pool this week. I’m going to follow up next week with some premium offerings and it will be interesting to see if they are in fact worth the uptick in pricing. Wines like the Cono Sur Bicicleta, Fire Road, and the Waterbrook make a strong argument for the wines at this price point, though they did stand out in this crowd which also featured more than its fair share of duds. Interestingly these three wines come from various regions around the globe, adding further evidence to the idea that stand out Sauvignon Blanc can be made just about anywhere.

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Top Value Sauvignon Blanc Tasted August 2013

Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley (2012)
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Fire Road Sauvignon Blanc (2012)
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Waterbrook Sauvignon Blanc (2012)
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Araucano Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Chile (2012)
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Tin Roof Cellars Sauvignon Blanc North Coast (2011)
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House Wine Fish House Sauvignon Blanc (2012)
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Pepi Sauvignon Blanc (2011)
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Yealands Sauvignon Blanc (2012)
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Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc (2012)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Kim Crawford and WhiteHaven are my favorites! I can usually find them for about $13-17 a bottle, depending on where I buy the and if they're having a sale. Great 90pt wines under $20!

    Aug 27, 2013 at 3:09 PM

  • Add Spy Valley to Kim Crawford and Whitehaven

    Aug 27, 2013 at 3:27 PM

  • I'd like to add Iverson Winery's (Fair Play, CA) Sauvignon Blanc. . .Though $22 "over the counter" ($17 to Club members) . . .It certainly deserves to be included in any "best inexpensive" list. . .And, since we're discussing the "flavours" of SB, it behooves one to check out Iverson's Chardonnay. . .Which I kid the winemakers that it is MORE like a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay. . .Nothing "buttery" about this fine example of El Dorado County's capabilities as a wine-growing region.

    Aug 27, 2013 at 3:42 PM

  • Snooth User: winedaddy
    1203186 29

    Its hard to imagine how not one wine from the Loire Valley is even mentioned. There are so many between $10 and $20 that Express this grape as well or better than any other region in the world.

    Aug 27, 2013 at 5:28 PM

  • Snooth User: Jamie Bothen
    1138350 121

    I have had a lot of CA & south american ones and now stick to the New Zealand ones- they are so much crisper and cleaner, south american ones taste much "muddier"- that is not definable as sauvignon blanc

    Aug 27, 2013 at 8:07 PM

  • Agree that the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are superb, but I like Chilean LaPlaya because it is good and half the cost.

    Aug 29, 2013 at 6:34 PM

  • Dry Creek Vineyard has an excellent Sauvignon Blanc, only $16

    Sep 03, 2013 at 6:19 PM

  • Snooth User: Stallion
    Hand of Snooth
    381013 946

    I would also add Rodney Strong's Charlotte's Home Sav Blanc to this list. Nice wine at a great value of around $12 a bottle. Wonderful zest on the finish!

    Sep 12, 2013 at 12:26 AM

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