The Best Wines of 2015

Sauvignon Blanc

(97) Fiddlehead Cellars Goosebury Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (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-fumé or sancerre. This is a must try for the connoisseur of sauvignon blanc. ($35)

(95) Heron Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (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 lemongrass 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)

(95) J. Lohr Sauvignon Blanc, Carol’s Vineyard 2013 (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 ingering finish. ($28)

(95) La Chapiniere Touraine Sauvignon 2013 (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) Yvon Mau Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (France). A 100% varietal wine 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)

(94) Markham Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2013 (California). Crisp, bright acidity balances the surprisingly lush and welcoming full mid-palate 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)

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

(94) Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Aveta Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (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)

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

(93) Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California). The 31st vintage continues to pay homage to the classic white Bordeaux, sauvignon blanc/semillion blend and oak aging. Rich and full-bodied, strong citrus notes with an underlying thread of minerality. 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. ($30)

(93) Oberon Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (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) 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) 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)

(92) Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (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)

(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) 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) 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) Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand). 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)

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