Sauvingon Blanc 

Oh-so-crisp and refreshing

Sauvingon Blanc

Kelsey Hawes

Sauvingon Blanc

As spring approaches, I'm ready to take a break from winter reds. I like to do a complete 180 and embrace the oh-so-crisp and refreshing charms of Sauvignon Blanc. That it's been unseasonably warm the past few weeks makes that transition even more desirable. The wine panel tried Sauvignon Blancs from around the world and, not surprisingly, New Zealand made the cut. What was a little surprising is that two from California beat out wines from Chile, France and Washington state. Here are the top Sauvignon Blanc picks:

2013 Benziger Sauvignon Blanc, $14

The aromas on this California North Coast entry can best be described as elegant, with soft lime, green apple and blood orange. The flavors are round and ripe, marked by sweet lime playing against racy grapefruit. Beautifully balanced, the supple, almost creamy finish has hints of lime zest and mineral.

2014 Marisco Vineyard, The Ned Sauvignon Blanc, $13

It's unmistakably New Zealand, but The Ned is more subtle than you might expect from that region. The nose offers ripe lime aromas, floral lilac and lavender, with a touch of lemongrass. The palate is loaded with ripe tropical fruit including key lime, pineapple, kiwi and grapefruit. The finish is crisp, clean and lingers nicely.

2014 Markham Sauvignon Blanc, $14

Incredibly rich aromas race from the glass, filled with floral honeysuckle, ripe melon and citrus zest. There's a core of sweet citrus on the palate, surrounded by pineapple, kiwi and grapefruit flavors. A hint of flint comes through on the finish, while the addition of 13 percent Semillon adds melon flavors to this delicious Napa Valley blend.

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