My Festive White Wine Guide last month was light on Sauvignon Blanc, so I’m putting that right with 8 recommendations here, in a variety of styles and at a variety of prices, and with this week's Wine of the Week.
Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Adelaide Hills, Australia
Light and sprightly with lemon and pink-grapefruit flavours flecked with pear and white peach, delicate mid-palate texture and racy, refreshing acidity. Ideal for people who don’t like grassy green or pungent styles of Sauvignon. I can remember the excitement on tasting the first vintage of this pioneering, cool-climate Australian Sauvignon with Michael Hill-Smith (the eponymous Smith) in London. It’s a testament to the wine, and to Michael and his cousin Martin Shaw, the winemaker, that the arrival of this, the 28th, vintage is still exciting.
£13–£15.99, D&D Wines, Rannoch Scott, winedirect.co.uk, Slurp, Exel, Eton Vintners, AG Wines
Viña Ventisquero Root: 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Casablanca Valley Chile
A light, snappy, lemony Sauvignon with touches of freshly cut grass, peach and pear and a touch of sweetness on the finish. One of its usp's (and hence the name Root: 1) is that the vines are on their own roots, i.e. ungrafted, because Chile, unlike most of the rest of the wine world, hasn't been invaded by the fatal Phylloxera bug. The trick is to buy this wine when it's on offer.
£6, from 31 January to 27 February, Morrisons (price outside this period: £8)
Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand
Classic Marlborough Sauvignon with intensity and expression, but elegance rather than the icy-swim kind of bite and intensity. Elderflower, white currant and gooseberry flavours with nimble acidity and a lightly steely, mineral, fresh finish.
£16.06, Armit Wines
Château Tour Léognan, Pessac-Léognan, France
From classic Marlborough Sauvignon to classic dry white Bordeaux: the second wine of Château Carbonnieux. It’s a blend of two thirds Sauvignon and one third Sémillon fermented in stainless steel but aged for 10 months in barrel (30% new) and lees stirred to give a seductive creaminess to the stone fruit, green herb and mineral freshness.
Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Greyton, South Africa
I tasted this nearly eight months ago, but have no hesitation in recommending it now, not least because the final word in my notes, underlined heavily, is ‘balance’. It’s a complex, rich style with citrus and tropical fruit, smoky depth and wonderful vibrancy. From the little known, out of the way Greyton region. Some retailers have moved on to the 2015 vintage, which I look forward to tasting when I can.
£17.70–£18.45, Wine Poole, winedirect.co.uk, GP Brands
Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough New Zealand
Barrel-fermented and matured for 18 months, but in older French oak to give a smoky rich intensity and texture, not toasty oak flavours, to complement the mineral layers, passion fruit and laser-cut acidity. It comes from a single, mature vineyard planted in 1992.
£19.50, The Wine Society
Greywacke ‘Wild’ Sauvignon 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand
Intense, opulent but tightly wound, with spicy, grassy, sweet hay and dried flower aromas and layers of spice, lemon-curd and gunflint. It was more than six months before fermentation finally fizzled out in this wild-ferment Sauvignon from ex-Cloudy Bay winemaker Kevin Judd’. Worth the wait in my view.
£20.46–£27.99, The Drink Shop, The Wine Society, 99 Wines, Slurp, ND John, Majestic
Diemersdal Wild Horseshoe Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Durbanville, South Africa
Complex, powerful, age-worthy Sauvignon with spicy, honeyed fruit and smoky minerals cut by incisive orange-citrus flavours. It’s from a single block and the grapes are fermented with wild yeasts and, unusually (but trendily), on their skins like red wine.