The following 20 wines were tasted during the past six months and offer a range, from easy-sipping party and wedding reception wines, to stylish, crisp and complex wines to match with shellfish and seafood. We found a decent correlation between price and rating; the higher the price the better the score (and most were tasted blind).
The best quality-to-value wines can be found in the $15 to $20 range. Some were purchased on sale, as merchants reduced inventory in advance of receiving newer vintages. If the vintages shown here aren’t available, give the new ones a try. The wineries included here are known for their consistency. Cheers!
- Sonoma 2018 Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte’s Home ($9). Fine value. Light-mid yellow gold; green tinges; light citrus, lime, green apple nose, light herbaceous; soft acids; mid-body (13.5 alc.); long fruity semi-crisp finish. w/appetizers, cheeses; easy summer sipping. 15 UC Davis scale, 88 other scales.
- $10 Sonoma County, Calif., Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Kenwood. Sharp, mid-green gold; light herbaceous, cut grass, citrus nose; mid-body/acids; decent fruit for the money; semi-long crisp finish. Good value appetizer, sipping wine. 15/88
- $10 California Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Bonterra Vineyards. Sharp, mid-green gold; new mown hay, grapefruit nose; mid-body/acids; not deep; short fruity finish. Appetizer, party, wine. 14.5/87
- Easy sipping Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Fly By Wines Reserve $11. Sharp mid straw-gold; herbaceous, citrus, clove nose; soft acids; short fruity finish. w/appetizers, munchies. 14.5/87
- Value California Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Justin Vineyards & Winery $11. Sharp light-mid gold; new mown hay, straw, jasmine nose; mid-body, decent acids; semi-short fruity finish. Appetizer, party sipping wine. 15/88
- $11 Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc. Sharp mid-gold; citrus, boxwood nose; mid-body; balanced; soft acids; some residual sugar (?); long semi-lush finish. Good reception, party wine. 15.5/89
- Los Olivos, Calif., 2019 Brander Sauvignon Blanc, $12. Light-mid green gold; light citrus, grapefruit, straw nose; mid-plus acids; balanced fruity semi-crisp citrus finish. w/ahi salad. 15.5/89
- Fine value in Calif. Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Hanna $12. Sharp mid-straw gold; citrus, grapefruit, straw and persimmon nose; mid-body; good acids; long semi-crisp fruity finish. w/clams, shrimp. 15.5/89
- Calif. 2018 Charles Krug Winery (Peter Mondavi Family) St. Helena, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc $13, Sharp light-mid straw gold; straw, light citrus, floral, green leaf nose; light-mid body; balanced; soft acids; decent fruit; good value in appetizer and party wine. 15/88
- 2019 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc California $13. Light-mid straw gold; herbaceous, citrus nose; mid-body, acids, fruit; not deep; decent fruit; semi-long slightly hot (13.9 alc.) finish. w/appetizers. 15/88
- Good $15 California Sauvignon Blanc 2018 St. Supéry. Light-mid green gold; light citrus, lemon grass, straw nose; mid-body; balanced; decent acids; good varietal fruit; long semi-crisp finish. w/clams and shellfish. 16/90
- Sonoma $17 Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Chalk Hill (Estate). Sharp light straw gold; straw, boxwood, light citrus nose; mid-body; balanced; good acids; long semi-crisp finish. w/cheeses, cold appetizers. 16/90
- $18 Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Freemark Abbey. Sharp light-mid gold; Graves-like nose; light citrus; boxwood; clove; mid-soft body; balanced; a little short but opens with air. w/appetizers. 16/90
- North Coast Calif. 2018 Clay Shannon Sauvignon Blanc Betsy’s Vineyard, $20. Sharp pale-green gold; grapefruit, citrus, lemon peel and boxwood nose; mid-body; mid-plus acids and alcohol (13.8); long crisp fruity finish. w/appetizers, cheeses. 16/90
- $22 Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Groth. Sharp mid-green gold; light herbaceous, citrus, spice nose; mid-body; mid-plus acids, intensity; long crisp citric finish. w/seafood appetizers. 16/90
- 2019 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc $42. Napa 63%, Sonoma 37%. Sharp mid-yellow gold; varietal nose; herbaceous, grapefruit, lime; mid body; mid-plus acids; tight and tart; needs time to become more balanced. w/seafood appetizers. 16/90
- $12 NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Mt. Beautiful North Canterbury. Sharp mid-gold; big varietal nose; tropical, herbaceous, citrus, boxwood; good depth; long semi-crisp fruity finish (13.0 alc.). w/shellfish. 15/88
- $12 Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Domaine de Villargeau Coteaux du Giennois. Sharp mid-gold, green tinges; citrus, slate and lime nose; mid-plus acids; long semi-crisp fruity finish. w/appetizers, cheeses. 15/88
- Fine Martinborough NZ (not Marlborough) Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Craggy Range Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Vineyard $17. Sharp light-mid green-gold; refined varietal nose; light straw, persimmons, citrus; balanced, softening acids; mid-body; long smooth fruit finish. w/shrimp, clams. 16/90
- $20 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Loveblock Vintners Ltd Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough. Sharp mid-green gold; complex citrus, grapefruit, light floral, mineral nose; mid-body; mid-acids and viscosity (13.0 acids); long crisp fruity finish. w/shrimp appetizers, shellfish. 16/90
- $20 Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Paul et Jean-Marc Pastou Sancerre La Côte de Sury Vielles Vignes. Pale straw gold, green tinges; grassy, herbaceous, flinty, grapefruit nose; mid-viscosity; mid-acids; balanced; long semi-crisp fruity finish. w/fish, shellfish, seafood appetizers. 16/90
- 2019 Thierry Merlin-Cherrier Sancerre, $24. Sharp mid-gold; floral, citrus, pyrazine, Sauvignon Blanc nose; light-mid acidity, depth; balanced, semi-crisp finish. w/shrimp salad. 16/90