6 sauvignon blancs to try

Columnist April 23, 2013
Henry Natter 2010

★★★

Sancerre, Loire Valley, France, $29

Dave McIntyre is a wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com. View Archive

Concentrated red-currant flavors are tinged with a hint of smoke from chalky Kimmeridgian soils in the western part of Sancerre. Textbook, and delicious.

Vintage 59/Country Vintner: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Fiola, Proof, Restaurant Nora, Ripple. Available in Maryland at Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. On the list in Virginia at Bazin’s on Church in Vienna, Inn at Little Washington.

Matanzas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2011

★★★

Sonoma County, Calif., $17

An exceptional expression of Sonoma County sauvignon blanc, with racy acidity that revives the palate, followed by exciting tropical fruit flavors that just won’t quit. My experience with this wine is that it improves over three or four years. Winemaker Marcia Monahan is now releasing single-vineyard bottlings from Bennett Valley ($30) and from Helena Bench in Knights Valley ($40), primarily for the restaurant trade. Both are excellent, slightly but noticeably singular expressions of what goes into the Sonoma County blend.

Monument/RNDC: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley; on the list at Brasserie Beck. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Montgomery County Liquor Store in Potomac, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton; on the list at Black’s Bar and Kitchen and Wildwood Kitchen in Bethesda, the Grilled Oyster Company in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Classic Wines in Great Falls; on the list at L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls.

Seifried Sauvignon Blanc 2012

★★★

Nelson, New Zealand, $19

Subtle and elegant, with some of that familiar New Zealand grassiness but not enough to slap you in the face. There is delicious tropical fruit flavor here, and a long finish that skirts a razor’s edge. Seifried’s Old Coach Road Sauvignon Blanc ($17) is also excellent, and more grassy in the classic New Zealand style.

Pacific Prime/Elite: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, various Whole Foods Market locations. 

Maimai Sauvignon Blanc 2012

★★★

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, $15

From the warmer climate of New Zealand’s North Island, this wine shows ripe fruit that reminds me of some Napa Valley premier sauvignon blancs that cost much more. Simply terrific.

Pacific Prime/Elite: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vino Volo at Washington Dulles Airport.

Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2011

★★1 / 2

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California, $18

From the winery that made a name for sauvignon blanc in Dry Creek Valley, in northern Sonoma County, comes this subtle, limpid wine that caresses the palate. Dry Creek produces a Sonoma County blend as well as single-vineyard wines; this one shows the Dry Creek Valley appellation at its best.

DOPS: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Central Liquors, Dupont Market, Gandel’s Liquors, Hayden’s Liquor, Pearson’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, U Street Mini Mart; on the list at Acadiana, Matisse. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Edgewater Liquors, Elkton Liquor Warehouse, Hilltop Wine & Spirits in Bowie, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, Montgomery Plaza Liquors in Catonsville, Port Tack Wine & Spirits in Arnold, Roundabout Fine Wine & Spirits in Laurel; on the list at Black’s Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda, the Melting Pot and Metropolitan in Annapolis, the Winery in Olney.
Forrest the Doctors’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011

★★

Marlborough, New Zealand, $19

This wine is exceptional because it is only 9.5 percent alcohol, balancing acidity with an appealing sweetness. If German vintners in the Mosel were making sauvignon blanc instead of Riesling, this is what it might taste like. Perfect for patio sipping by itself or with light appetizers. 

Pacific Prime/Elite: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cork & Fork, MacArthur Beverages. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).

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Recommendations

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Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Sauvignon blanc expresses climate and terroir quite clearly: the grassy, exotic flavors of a cold climate and the tropical fruit flavors in warmer areas. Here are a few examples. — D.M.

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