It's spring and that means time for sauvignon blanc, one of the most recognizable grape varieties in terms of aroma and flavor. Stylistically, it is also one of the most diverse. In New Zealand, it achieves a purity of flavor with overtly herbaceous and unmistakably pungent aromas. Elsewhere, with the influence of oak, it achieves a more subtle elegance. Our three top picks help illustrate some of that diversity.
2008 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc, $12.99
Beautifully floral aromas combine with accents of orange blossom, soft citrus, lemon zest, fresh-cut grass and a touch of mineral. This California charmer is ripe and round in the mouth with lively tropical and citrus fruit flavors--Meyer lemon, tangerine, guava and mango. The finish lingers nicely with an enticing lemon tart quality and an intriguing touch of spice and white pepper.
2008 Mohua Sauvignon Blanc, $11.99
With its crisp and sassy pink grapefruit, gooseberry and grass flavors, this is the most overtly varietal of the three, but it is in no way over the top. This is a nice mix of sweet and sour on the palate as green apple and grapefruit match sweet lemon and blood orange. Touches of fresh basil and mineral add interest on the bright finish. This is a quintessential New Zealand sauvignon blanc at a great price.
2007 Mason Sauvignon Blanc, $16.50
Fermented in both stainless steel and oak, this wine strikes a nice balance between the overtly varietal and a more restrained elegance. Nice crisp citrus, zesty lemon and grapefruit play against smooth pear and mango aromas with touches of clover and fresh spring greens. Creamy stone fruit flavors up front are backed by orange, lime and a hint of pineapple. A soft acidity on the finish adds balance in this lovely California offering.