Sauvignon blancs are perfect to finish summer, start oyster season

August 27, 2022

Let’s look at a few Sauvignon Blancs to get us through the shank of summer and September, which will also enhance the nascent oyster season. Most are rated 90 McD or better and won’t break the bank. Greywacke SB is a delightful Marlborough 2021 selection to start, 92 McD findable under $20, and Pennsylvania LCB is selling it for $16/ bottle. Pete and the gov still won’t let it ship but availability says it can be had in Delaware. Ask your local wine store salesperson to bring some in. Aromatic of currant, peach and baked apple, with honeysuckle and lemon hints. Ripe with juicy acidity supporting trop fruit flavors that show some lemongrass in the long, clean finish. Allan Scott SB 2020 is another Marlborough that took No. 23 in Wine Spectator’s top 100 for 2020. I finally sampled it, and it was definitely worthy. Buy priced under $16, 90 McD. Redolent of passionfruit, mango, lime and grapefruit. Riding a juicy, bright frame, the fruit repeats on the palate and continues through a clean, slightly herbal long finish. Villa Maria Private Bin SB 2021, 88 McD with an extra price point under $12, is their entry level. Herbal, jalapeno and lemongrass aromas, ripe trop fruit, lime and grapefruit flavors. A fine choice for summer salads and shellfish. Go upscale a bit to 2021 Villa Maria Reserve SB Wairau Valley, 91 McD around $25. Tropical nose with herbal back notes of grass and lime. On the palate, citrus with an herbal refrain. Finishes cleanly with bright acidity and a touch of salinity. 

Those wishing to buy American, don’t be dismayed. We have several selections, well rated and modestly priced. Joel Gott SB from California won No. 21 in the WS 2020 writeup. Gott is a blender who buys juice to make his wine, sourced from Lake County, Monterey, Napa, Santa Barbara and Sonoma. The 2020 opens to citrus and tropical fruit aromas; pineapple and mango appear on the palate lifted by crisp acidity which cleans up the long, juicy finish, 90 McD plus 1 price point under $12.50. Avoid the 2021. Don’t turn up your nose at Gnarly Head San Bernabe Vineyard Central Coast 2020. Can be found around $10, 87 McD, with 1 price point. The reviews on this ran the gamut from wet cardboard, flabby and astringent to mine. Those who enjoy light-bodied, steely, lean SB should check out Gnarly Head 2020, citrus nose, green apple, lemon flavors and a puckery long finish. Goes well as a substitute with foods you normally serve accompanied by a lemon or lime wedge. Other good-buy domestics are: Bogle SB 2021, under $10, 89 McD; Ferrari Carrano Fumé Blanc Sonoma, 89 McD, $10 at Costco, normal $13; Morgan Winery SB 2020 Monterey, under $19, 89 McD is good value. For the life of me, I can’t quite figure how folks in Marlborough, NZ, can ship their 90+ rated, bottled, corked or capped SB to the U.S. and sell it for less than many of our producers. 

Those who buy 3L, bag-in-a-box wines and enjoy SB profiles may wish to explore Black Box SB for about $20. It is a typical, average-grade, Chilean light SB showing grapefruit, green apple and tropical fruit. Bota Box around $23 was OK, with citrus, honeydew, lemongrass nose, then lime, peach, melon flavors, medium clean finish. These are less acidic and better as sippers than food wines. The 3-liter box is equivalent to four 750 ml bottles, so for $5/bottle, these are fairly priced. You get what you pay for.

Ruth asked, “What’s your opinion of the Martha Stewart Wine Co. offering of three wines plus gift bags, $58 with standard shipping included?” They don’t ship to Delaware, but Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, yes. This is a fair price. Since you did not stipulate vintages or which of the suggested wines, I can only provide that the listed prices seem to be about $17/varietal, allowing $7 for gift bags and shipping. I have not sampled these, but Martha did not become the star she is by sponsoring poor products that taste crummy. Give it a go and let me know.


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