Savoring Sauvignon Blanc 

Spring and Sauvignon Blanc just seem to go together. The wine is crisp, clean and aromatic, just the thing to pair with the lighter fare of the season. Full disclosure: While it is the grape that put New Zealand wines on the map, I'm generally not a fan of the in-your-face Kiwi style. That said, New Zealand kicked it in this tasting, with only one wine, a California entry, scoring better. Here are the top three:

2016 Brander Sauvignon Blanc, $17.99

The nose is an elegant and complex combination of dusty melon, stone fruit, tangerine and crisp citrus. A well-structured, beautifully balanced wine, it offers ripe fruit flavors with just the right hit of acidity. You get creamy mandarin orange, apricot and citrus, with an intriguing hint of caramel on the long finish. A classic example of California Sauvignon Blanc.

2016 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc, $14.99

A slightly different take on that Kiwi model, you get some of the expected grapefruit and pineapple on the nose, but it's matched by lively stone fruit and light herbes de Provence. There is more of the same on the supple palate, along with racy citrus and a touch of white pepper. This would definitely appeal to a wide variety of Sauvignon Blanc lovers.

2017 Whitehaven Winemaker's Select Sauvignon Blanc, $15.99

The nose is filled with the typical bright grapefruit and gooseberry aromas, but with none of that characteristic kitty litter quality you either love or hate. Ripe grapefruit carries through on the palate as well in this fruit-forward white. Crisp acidity marks the tangy finish along with hints of spicy Anaheim pepper and mineral.

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