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In Defense of Sauvignon Blanc

Many wine writers and bloggers have written about the sea of ubiquitous and mediocre Sauvignon Blanc being produced in California and Washington.

I am going to take a different approach and talk about some of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs. These wines can run with the big boys from the Loire and Marlborough.

Painting in broad strokes, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire is characterized by smoky, flinty and mineral flavors. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc hits you with bell pepper and fresh cut grass. The best domestic Sauvignon Blancs have lush tropical fruit flavors with lemon and apple.

Sauvignon Blanc is a fantastic summer wine that pairs beautifully with seafood or a chicken caesar salad.

Here are some of my recent tasting notes on domestic Sauvignon Blancs from both California and Washington that rise above the “sea of mediocrity”:

  • 2006 Araujo Eisele Vineyard – Apple, peach, melon, guava and minerals. Bright acidity. This wine has aged beautifully. 93 points.
  • 2008 Spottswoode – Grapfruit, melon, lemongrass, spice. Crisp acidity. Another Sauvignon Blanc that can handle some age in the bottle. 93 points.
  • 2008 Rochioli  – Citrus, lemon, grapefruit and grass. Perfect acidity. Enjoy this one young or with a few years of bottle age. 91 points. (read my bottle note)
  • 2009 Herb Lamb EII – Uniquely blended with Sauvignon Musque. Kiwi, pink grapefruit, pineapple, guava.  Infinitely refreshing. 92 points.
  • 2011 Efeste Feral – Citrus, mineral, grass and flowers. Bright, zingy and crisp. 90 points.
  • 2011 Guardian Angel – This wine sees new french oak and the finished product is lush with vanilla, lemon, honeysuckle and tropical fruits. 89 points. (read my bottle note)

I’m just scratching the surface here with the aforementioned wines that are anything but mediocre.

What are your go-to Sauvignon Blancs?

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Have you stopped by Conn Creek to try the SB they make? Almost impossible not to like. Crisp and clean, great acid. Citirus fruit dominates but sees a fair bit of tropicality in certain years. Tell them I sent you!

    July 29, 2012
    • Have not tried the Conn Creek but will look for a bottle. Thanks for the suggestion.

      July 29, 2012
  2. And thanks for the good tips on the above wines. Would have loved to see some prices along with your points. Good job!

    July 29, 2012
    • Thanks Tom. Off the top of my head the Efeste and Guardian are $20. Herb Lamb is $26, Rochioli is $28, Spottswoode is $38 and the Araujo is $52 or so.

      July 29, 2012
  3. Lon Snider #

    Great post Tom. Love the Spottswoode. Also like Bedrock & Merry Edwards.

    July 30, 2012
    • Thanks Lon. Good call on the Bedrock. A great value as well. Need to try the Merry Edwards one of these days.

      July 30, 2012

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