Retailer Wine Selections: Sauvignon Blanc

StateWays’ sister publication Beverage Dynamics publishes a list of wine recommendations, called Retailer Wine Selections, in every issue based upon written evaluations by its National Retailer Wine Panel. Each review includes brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). The following is a sampling of top Sauvignon Blancs chosen by the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel from its latest issue.

If you’re a control state official who specializes in wine and you’d like to be a member of the new StateWays wine panel, please email editor Jeremy Nedelka at


Rating System

  • Five Stars (92-100): A top-flight wine. Superior in taste and character and providing an outstanding price/value relationship.
  • Four Stars (86-91): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.
  • Three Stars (80-85): An above-average wine, at a reasonable price point, which many customers will enjoy.
  • Two Stars (70-79): An average wine.
  • One Star (50-69): A below-average wine.


Five Stars

(97) Fiddlehead Cellars 2013 Goosebury Sauvignon Blanc (California). A “New World” style, fermented in stainless steel and unoaked to display the beautiful aromas and flavors characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc grown in the unique micro-climate of Happy Canyon. Fresh hints of peach, mango, and zest of mandarin mingle with a mineral nuance on the nose. Those tropical flavors gently take over the palate and carry through to the finish where the “terroir” and crisp, lively acidity make you smack your lips. New World, yes, but reminiscent of Pouilly-Fume’ or Sancerre. This is a must try for the connoisseur of Sauvignon Blanc. ($35)


(95) 2013 J. Lohr Sauvignon Blanc, Carol’s Vineyard (California). Named for Mr. Lohr’s wife Carol, with a portion of proceeds going to breast cancer research. Classic Napa fruit, with a creamy texture and a perfume nose that offers up robust citrus hints. Rich and powerful with a lingering finish. ($28)

(95) Yvon Mau 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (France). 100% Varietal with aromas and flavors of tropical fruits and citrus. Racy, crisp, and dry on the finish with a hint of minerality. Also an excellent value. ($12)

(95) 2013 La Chapiniere Touraine Sauvignon (France). Lush aromas and flavors of honeydew, pineapple and grapefruit abound with lively, refreshing acidity on the lengthy finish. On the very end, a note of “flint” shows up in a most delightful way. This wine has many characteristics of good Sancerre, and is more affordable. ($20)

(95) Heron 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Whole-cluster pressing and a three-week cold fermentation in stainless steel results in a refreshing fruit-forward style with no oak aging. A lush bouquet of peach and pear with a whiff of lemon-grass gets your attention. On the palate, you’ll taste melon, apricot, and citrus with a hint of sweet anise. The finish is long and not-quite-dry. A simply lovely style. ($15)

(94) 2013 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Aveta Sauvignon Blanc (California). Bright pale gold in the glass, the nose is a beautiful mix for tropical and citrus fruits, with a touch of the variety’s signature grassiness. A long, balanced finish confirms the wine’s quality. ($26)

(94) 2012 Robert Mondavi Reserve Fume Blanc (California). This barrel-fermented, single-vineyard wine is a brilliant bright gold in the glass, with plenty of notes on citrus, white peach, and floral hints. Good weight and texture contribute to the attractive grassiness and minerality. ($50)

(94) Markham Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2013 (California). Crisp, bright acidity balances the surprisingly lush and welcoming full mid-palette in this straw pale gem. Melon and apricot offset the citrus notes, making this a fine accompaniment to steamed bivalves or delicate seafood dishes. ($13)

(93) Loveblock Sauvignon Marlborough 2013 (New Zealand). This new effort from Kim Crawford’s hilltop vineyards has a welcoming appeal. It is NOT the one-note citrus, grapefruit style that pervades New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but rather a lush, aromatic quaff with notes of passion fruit, peach and mandarin orange. A perfect accompaniment to Thai dishes, sushi and soft-shell crabs. ($24)

(93) 2013 Oberon Sauvignon Blanc (California). The wine is a brilliant pale gold in the glass. The nose is a lovely mix of tropical and citrus fruits, with a subtle floral hint. The palate is exceptionally well balanced, with a long, attractive finish. ($18)

(93) 2013 Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc (California). Elegant and noteworthy. This wine shines with hints of nectarine and stone. Well balanced, pleasing long finish. A must with food. ($35)

(93) Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (California). Crisp and delightful with a good balance of grapefruit and lime. The finish is gratifying and allows it to work well with linguine and clams in a white broth. ($18)

(93) Trione River Road Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (California). A delicious white, loaded with complex citrus and tropical fruit notes. Long, elegant and beautifully balanced. ($25)

(93) Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California). A classic Napa Valley Sauvignon with a perfect marriage of subtle grapefruit and lingering melon flavors.  The balance of acidity and fruit make for a beautiful experience. ($29)

(92) Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California). Super fresh and racy Sauvignon Blanc that awakens the palate. Citrus aromas lead into ripe melon and green apple notes with noticeable flintiness on the finish. 5 months in neutral French oak barrels. ($36)

(92) Grgich Hills Fume Banc 2012 (California). A taste profile of white peaches, dried apricots, Meyer lemon and tone of minerality. Framed by toasty oak and vanilla from the French oak fermentation. A treat with shellfish. ($28)

(92) Smythe & Renfield Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand). Alluring notes of fresh cut grapefruit, lime and citrus are matched with ripe flavors of passion fruit and kiwis. Excellent with grilled chicken, salads and seafood. ($15)

(92) Regis Minet Pouilly Fume V.V. 2013 (France). This has a very intriguing nose reminiscent of a Mosel Riesling exhibiting white flowers, wet slate and unripe nectarine.  The palate transports you to the Loire; showing more typical lime, lemon verbena, chalk and mouthwatering salinity. Beautifully balanced. ($25)

(92) 2014 Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Brilliant pale gold in the glass, this is a delicious example of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Citrus fruit is accented by typical grassiness. Fresh and bright on the palate, the finish is long and balanced. ($19)

(92) 2013 Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc (California). Looking at the wine, in the glass, it is a brilliant straw with subtle green hints. The nose is dominated by Citrus, with some stone fruit, and spice. The palate is bright, clean, and echoes the nose. The finish is quite long, with a lovely aftertaste. ($17)


Four Stars

(91) 2014 Mudhouse Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Grapefruit, mineral and grass. Lip- smacking thirst quencher. Great with goat cheese appetizers. ($13)

(91) Silver Beach Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (New Zealand). Aromas of passion fruit and grapefruit with plenty of citrus and melon flavors shining throughout. Crisp and concentrated. Works well with Asian cuisine. ($15)

(91) Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Australia). Loads of bright lime and grapefruit notes nicely balanced by crisp acidity, with a long, lingering complex finish. ($23)

(91) Hall Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (California). A luscious wine with flavors of peach, grapefruit and a touch of vanilla with a hint of pepper on the finish. ($25)

(91) 2014 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Gooseberries and red grapefruit dominate the nose. Full bodied and smooth. Good acidity and balance. Rich, viscous mouth-feel. ($30)

(91) 2013 Sonoma-Loeb Sauvignon Blanc (California). Produced under the Chappellet label. Clean, crisp and elegant in a lighter, softer style. Citrus notes dominate and there is a subtle peach undertone. ($32)

(91) 2014 Rutherford Ranch Sauvignon (California). Just released 100% Sauvignon Blanc with stainless steel aging. Beautiful aromas of grapefruit, lemon and watermelon. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity. ($22)

(91) 8 Rios Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Chile). Fresh and fruit forward, the 8 Rios Reserva is crafted by award-winning winemaker Rafael Urrejola. Sourced from vineyards in Leyda, this Sauvignon Blanc has pronounced notes of grapefruit, lime and tropical fruit, which meet a textured palate and vibrant acidity on the finish. ($15)

(91) Martin Ray Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (California). Even keeled and dry while still possessing an abundance of tart fruit; sports flavors of pear, grapefruit and ginger that all weave together in the crisp, palate-cleansing finish. ($20)

(91) Spier Sauvignon Blanc Private Collection 2014 (South Africa). A sweet perfume of tart orange, lime, and honeysuckle; on the palate an energetic acidity deposits citrus, tropical fruit, and toasted almond; the interwoven flavors linger generously on the finish. ($25)

(91) Spier Sauvignon Blanc Vintage 2014 (South Africa). Quite aromatic with fragrances of nectarine, white flowers and straw; nuanced flavors of lime and grapefruit ally with a crisp finish that is skillfully tinged with minerals. ($19)

(91) Titus Sauvignon Blanc Napa 2014 (California). A bright, energetic Napa Sauvignon Blanc; pretty floral notes combine with grapefruit, lime and citrus; a penetrating crispness provides elegant balance on the impressively lengthy finish. ($25)

(91) Brancott Estate, The Original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (New Zealand). Pale straw in color with green highlights. Grapefruit and passion fruit taste with a crisp and refreshing finish. Good with Grilled oysters, white fish or Mediterranean dishes. ($13)

(91) Grey Rock Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2014 (New Zealand). Charming aromas and flavors of lemon, tart orange and gooseberries; this vibrant, layered Sauvignon Blanc is a joy to drink all the way through to its harmonious finish. ($26)

(91) 2013 Hess Sauvignon Blanc (California). Across the board, a lovely and balanced wine. Pale gold in the glass, with green notes. The nose is a mix of citrus fruit and peel, with subtle stone fruit. Plenty of weight on the palate, the taste reflects the aromas, and finishes balanced and satisfying. ($22)

(91) 2014 Novas Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (Chile). Pale gold in the glass, with green hints, the nose is driven by citrus and tropical fruits. The palate is clean and fresh, with citrus, tropical notes and a hint of spice. The finish is very well balanced. ($14)

(90) 2013 Wente Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc (California). A brilliant pale straw in the glass, the nose is a wonderful combination of tropical, and citrus fruits, with a hint of yellow berry fruit. The palate reflects this, with a touch of melon, and refreshing acidity. ($15)

(90) 2014 Domaine Paul Buisse (France). From the Loire Valley, this is an elegant Sauvignon Blanc, with pale yellow notes in the glass. The nose and palate highlight the legance with tropical and stone fruit components. The finish is bright, balanced, and long. ($13)

(90) 2013 Domaine Philippe Portier, Cuvee des Victoires Quincy (France). Delicate and subtle are the key descriptors here. The nose and plate are both dominated by notes of stone fruit and herbs, with a touch of tropical fruit. Clean and bright, this is well balanced, and exceptionally food friendly. ($20)

(90) 2013 Wente Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc (California). A brilliant pale straw in the glass, the nose is a wonderful combination of tropical, and citrus fruits, with a hint of yellow berry fruit. The palate reflects this, with a touch of melon, and refreshing acidity. ($15)

(90) 2013 Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa). A brilliant pale gold in the glass, the nose is a heady mix of tropical and citrus fruits, with a hint of spice. There palate is clean, with good weight and texture. The citrus-driven flavors linger and linger, on the long and balanced finish. ($25)

(90) 2013 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc (Chile). Crisp and lemony, medium body. Affordable complement for a plate of oysters. Easy open screw cap. ($9)

(90) 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc (Washington). Affordable gem from the Pacific Northwest – crisp, clean with just a touch of herbs. Another great choice with that plate of oysters. ($12)

(90) Domaine de la Perriere Sancerre 2013 (France). Bright straw color leads to the rich and full mouth feel of white peaches, apricots and exotic fruits, Good length with a crisp backbone. Nicely paired with grilled fish. ($20)

(90) Galerie Naissance Sauvignon Blanc (California). Aged in stainless steel and French Oak, this is a dry medium-bodied wine with Honeydew Melon and Grapefruit the dominant flavors. ($30)

(90) Neethlingshof Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (South Africa).  A refreshingly delicious Sauvignon Blanc; it possesses delicate grassy aromas and flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, and green fig; crisp and succulent on the finish. ($17)

(90) Gassier Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (France). A textbook example of well-crafted French Sauvignon Blanc; it has flavors of lime, white flowers, and a touch of minerals; a mouthwatering finish provides outstanding balance. ($19)

(90) Les Roches Touraine Sauvignon 2013 (France). Tense, classic nose of grapefruit and fresh grass. A wake up call for the palate with bright, citrus, pineapple and just a hint of the grassiness that is in the nose. The finish is dry, fresh and crisp. Perfect for goat cheese and raw bar. ($16)

(90) Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc 2013 (California). Aromas of grapefruit and a hint of lemongrass practically leap from the glass. The palate is crisp and clean with flavors of citrus, apple and tropical fruits. A blend of barrel and stainless steel fermentation add a supple creaminess to the mouth-feel and hint of oak on the finish. Very refreshing and enjoyable. ($14)

(90) 2013 Kenefick Ranch Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California). Extremely aromatic and perfumed, citrus and tropical fruits, nice grapefruit acidity, straw color, full mid-palate with dancing crisp smooth finish. ($26)

(90) Tuck Beckstoffer ‘75 Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (California). This light and pretty Sauvignon Blanc offers just the right combination of fruit and crispness. A perfect cocktail wine or to start your first course salad off with. ($14)

(90) Truett Hurst Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2014 (California). Radiant aromas and flavors of stone fruit, citrus and honey suckle; an energetic mid palate weaves the various components together for a lovely finish that is both long and vibrant. ($30)

(90) Grey Rock Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 (New Zealand). Fragrant notes of lime, pear and minerals that are reminiscent of a cool ocean breeze; it possesses delightful flavors of citrus, passion fruit and almonds that linger all the way through to the crisp finish. ($19)

(90) Governors Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand). Dried apricot and honeysuckle add complexity to the passion and citrus fruit flavors; it possesses a gratifyingly crisp finish that is pure, clean, and just plain delicious. ($17)

(90) Dry Creek Sonoma County Fume Blanc 2013 California). Pronounced lemon and lime aromatic stand out in the glass on the nose. On the palate, grassy notes are enhanced with zesty grapefruit and muted herbal tones. The long finish encourages further sipping. Rewarding white for the money. ($13)

(90) Kingston Family ‘Cariblanco’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Chile).  A world-class Sauvignon Blanc that shows a real sense of place. This wine displays a wonderful balance of ripe citrus notes, chalky minerality and vibrant acidity that reverberates nicely on a long herbaceous finish. ($20)

(89) Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc (California). The start gives you an indication that this wine is going to fade away quickly. The pop of grapefruit and acidity compliment this high- energy Sauvignon Blanc from the first sip to the final savor. ($13)

(89) Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough Region 2014 (New Zealand). Aromas of intense tropical fruit and fresh cut grass notes. It’s on the ripe side hinting at stone fruit and honey but staying crisp and focused on the finish. Good with sea food, salad and goat cheese. ($15)

(89) Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc (California). User-friendly in style and good for the beginner. Soft melon and peach with minimal acidity. ($6)

(89) Groth Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California). Gobs of melon and citrus character. Lush and full with a rich creaminess from “sur lie” aging. Great with shell fish and chicken dishes. ($18)

(89) Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (Australia). Grapefruit and peach aromas with flavors of peach, apple, lemon and grapefruit (of course) with bright acidity on the finish.  ($20)


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