Great Sauvignon Blancs

Wine reviews + 5 top picks


I’ve got to tell you, Sauvignon Blanc is just not that good! Seriously, what is with these wines? They lack the power, depth, complexity and aging potential of so many great white wines, yet people still gravitate towards them. What is up with that?

Well I’ll tell you what I think. Most Sauvignon Blancs, while not being monuments to winemaking, are just flat out fun to drink. There’s this ridiculous disconnect in wine where only wines with lots of points are deemed to be worth drinking. I’ve never really laid out my scoring methodology, but basically wines do get point for things like complexity and structure, which may not always be pertinent to every wine (case in point: Sauvignon Blanc).

Yes, there are great Sauv Blancs, but even some of these wines that don’t score the big points do deliver so much fun that it would be hard to believe they’re not super popular. So what am I trying to say here? Don’t get hung up on the point scores too much when looking for a zesty wine to quench your thirst. It’s that simple.

Photo courtesy Rivard via Flickr/CC


You might notice that the deck here, at least the top, is stacked with Italian wines. To a certain extent, that is simply due to the price point, but that also has to do with my palate. I happen to have an affinity for Sauvignon Blanc from the Alto Adige, but that doesn’t necessarily make them better for sipping by the pool! And on second thought, that has everything to do with the price point.

While the Terlano wines are awesome, they come with a hefty price. I might buy a bottle of the Quartz once in awhile; but over the course of the summer, I’ll probably end up buying several cases of wines like Buitenverwachting’s Beyond, the Mulderbosch (which is totally my style even if it’s not a top-rated wine), or the La Petit Perrier, which is a party pleaser for hosts and guests alike!

2007 Terlano Sauvignon Blanc Quartz ex magnum, 13%, $50 per 750ml
Hugely aromatic with a steely mineral base, then just layers of white floral tones, soft gooseberries, a touch of mint and wonderfully fresh cut citrus fruit. This absolutely fills the mouth with an expansive, soft, yet vibrant feeling wine. The acidity here is present and firm, though it’s wrapped in juicy rich greengage plum fruit with a touch of mineral soil on the long finish. This is thrilling Sauvignon Blanc packed with fresh citrus, melon and plum notes that just don’t stop. 95pts

2009 Terlano Sauvignon Blanc Quartz, 13%, $50
Clear and bright on the nose with a light fruitiness topped with bright herbal top notes. Rich and almost opulent in the mouth, yet with a feel bordering on underripe (in a good way), bursting with minerally lime fruit that is wonderfully aromatic with excellent length and really fine persistence of fruit. 93pts

2010 St. Michael Eppan Sauvignon Blanc Sanct Valentin, 13%, $35
A bit sulfury on the nose that adds a decomposed note to the core of grassy, herbal elements. Rich in the mouth but dry and elegant as well, with very fine, subtle, complex citrus and orchard fruit tones. The sulfur does intrude a bit so this need to be decanted or cellared for a few years, but the wine is wonderful with vibrant acidity, modest weight, good length and a wonderfully elegant feel. 91pts

2010 Terlano Sauvignon Blanc Winkl, 13.5%, $28
Intensely herbal on the nose with fresh green over exotic fruit notes of passionfruit, kiwi and gooseberry. Ripping acidity on entry braces the palate and supports flavors of fresh cut grass and citrus fruits with a soft tropical top note. This exhibits excellent balance with an elegant, yet tense, feel and a moderately long, succulent finish. 91pts

2010 Tiefenbrunner Kirchleiten Sauvignon Blanc, 13%, $30
Quite intensely grassy on the nose with strong gooseberry and green plum notes accented with a touch of flint. Round in the mouth with vibrant, though integrated, acids that give this a rather lush feel accentuated by the slightly tropical, mango-tinged fruit. The finish explodes with big ripe fruit tones and while this really does offer nice crispness wrapped in lush fruit, it’s a bit much for my palate. Still, very successful. 90pts


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  • Snooth User: z235e49
    199151 5

    one of things i like about sauvignon blance is their affordabilty. you can get some real tasty sbs from california for about $15- honig, groth and st.supery come to mind.

    Jun 27, 2011 at 3:02 PM

  • Snooth User: homestar
    512161 83

    fun to drink? sure. but they also taste good, unlike (for me) most of the chardonnays of a similar price that also can lay no claims to "complexity or structure," many of which seem to be trying to be something they are not. Nice to see South Africa's SBs getting more notice, and while most people know about them, the New Zealand SBs excel in the "crisp," "refreshing," "fun," "zesty," and "thirst quenching" criteria laid out here. I personally would like a better list of French wines available in the US that have these characteristics (along with the affordable price point).

    Jun 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

  • I personally agree with this artical, but I am sure its going to make some people mad. If I am going to spend my money on a white, I would wrather get a good Viognier

    Jun 27, 2011 at 3:56 PM

  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    Mantele Sauvignon Nals Magreid....most people said it's the best vineyard of sauvignon in alto adige...what do you think?

    Aug 09, 2011 at 5:49 AM

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