This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.
It’s the dead of winter here in the mid-Atlantic and crisp white wines might not be the first choice when you’re thinking of cracking open a bottle. But if you’re in the mood for seafood and salads, or you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a warm, sunny deck somewhere closer to the equator, California Sauvignon Blanc is a good call.
These Cali Sauv Blancs comprise a diverse crew, showcasing different regional nuances and winemaking methods, and many of them are available for reasonable prices.
These wines were received as trade samples and tasted single-blind.
2013 Clayhouse Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Fumé Blanc Red Cedar Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
Bright gold color. Salty and airy on the nose, with lots of white flowers and bright perfume, some tropical fruits and honey. On the palate, crisp acid, a lively and bright approach, showing some oceanic notes. Sliced green and yellow apple fruit, mineral-driven but also lots of richness in the form of honeycomb and nougat. Lots of freshness, great balance between the zesty and the creamy. (89 points)
2013 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc - California, North Coast, Potter Valley
Clear straw color. So vibrant on the nose with kiwi, papaya and lime, mixed in with floral and some honey notes. Very creamy on the palate, with zippy acid, the combination works very well. Flavors of papaya, kiwi and lime zest, I also get notes of gravelly road and white flowers, some honey on the finish. Lively and pretty, showing a lot of complexity and versatility. (90 points)
2013 Edna Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - California, Central Coast, San Luis Obispo County
On the nose: papaya, wildflowers, melon and honey. Creamy, rich, fruity with cantaloupe, melon and honey accented by some white pepper and spice. Fleshy but tangy and impressive for the price. Even at $15, 2013 offers exciting Sauvignon Blanc. (87 points)
2013 Phifer Pavitt Sauvignon Blanc Date Night - California, Napa Valley
Light golden color. Bright lemon-lime peel on the nose, some white cherries, grapefruit and guava, accented by hints of white and green pepper. Bright and zingy but some nice creaminess as well. Lime and grapefruit play off of guava and pineapple, and the fruit is dashed with some grass, white pepper and honeysuckle. Clean, fresh but good weight, very food-friendly. All stainless steel. (87 points)
2013 Clos du Val Sauvignon Blanc - California, Napa Valley
Clear lemon color. Aromas of white peach, nectarine, clean laundry, honeysuckle and mineral notes. Full on the palate but great acid keeps it balanced. White cherry, nectarine and mango fruit is dusted with chalk and spicy oregano. Dried honey and nutshell notes as well. Clean, crisp but complex with white tea on the finish. Delicious and impressive. (90 points)
2013 Amici Sauvignon Blanc - California, Napa Valley
Pale straw color. Fresh and vibrant on the nose with a fruit salad of white peach, nectarine, grapefruit and guava, along with notes of honeysuckle and a hint of white pepper. Full-bodied and creamy on the palate but held in by crisp acid. White peach, orange peel, pineapple and guava mix together with notes of honey, wax and white pepper. Rich yet clean and crisp and focused, with minerals and limestone on the finish. Showing lots of complexity and food-friendliness. (88 points)
2013 Atalon Sauvignon Blanc - California, Napa Valley
Light straw color. Nose of white peaches, green apple slices and a good amount of grass and white pepper. Medium-bodied palate, moderate acid keeps it fresh as the white peach, green apples and kiwi flow in. Accented by honeysuckle, slight grass and hints of rocky stream and minerals. Fun and approachable, a middle-of-the-road style. Includes 9% Semillon. (86 points)
2012 Cockerell Family Wine Estates Sauvignon Blanc Le Petit Coquerel - California, Napa Valley
Pale straw color. Bright and inviting on the nose, a medley of white peach, guava and lemon peel mixed with white flowers, green pepper and some spicy oregano. The palate shows crisp acid and a moderately creamy body. The flavors of lemon zest, green apple and guava are complex and deep, laced with notes of sea salt, white pepper, floral perfume and oregano. Underlying notes of minerals and crushed chalk add complexity. All stainless steel. (88 points)
2012 Cockerell Family Wine Estates Sauvignon Blanc Terroir Coquerel - California, Napa Valley, Calistoga
A pale straw color. Lots of chalk and crushed rocks and minerals on the nose, jumping out of the glass, over top of green apple, lemon and some papaya, a hint of honeyed white tea. Zesty acid on the palate, a clean but full approach on the palate. Sliced green apple, papaya drizzled with lime, I also get notes of quinine, crushed chalk and white tea. Hints of honey and hazelnut linger long onto the finish. Complex and forward but maintains elegance and freshness. Very impressive. Fermented in 10% new oak. (91 points)