We may not be able to travel this summer (2020), but at least we still have wine. I know I personally have been drinking more of it than usual… especially my go-to, New Zealand sauvignon blancs. On the bright side I’ve been trying lots of them so can share with you my favorites! Sauvignon blanc has become a favorite wine for me over the last few years, I used to prefer Chardonnay and lately haven’t been enjoying it much, it’s funny how our taste buds can change so much over time. I love how crisp, refreshing and light sauvignon blanc is. I find I get much less wine headaches drinking this versus heavier whites or reds, which is great on a night I plan to have more than a glass…. or two, ha.
New Zealand sauvignon blancs predominantly come from the Marlborough region which is the northern part of the south island. Sauvs from this region are known for their citrusy, grassy flavors, making them extremely refreshing. While other areas of the world, such as California and France, also produce sauvignon blancs there is a reason that this is what New Zealand is known for when it comes to wine, in a maybe controversial opinion I would say other regions don’t really compare. While I have tried quite a few California versions I like (and will do a separate round up on) they are typically more expensive on average for something I don’t love as much.
I’ve been happy to see increased selection available in the USA as distribution continues to grow from Marlborough giving me lots more options to try! I made sure all selections on this list are ones I have personally purchased in California and tried. I most often buy my wine while out at my local grocery stores including Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Target. Also please note prices listed are an average of what I pay in CA, having lived in other states I know sometimes prices vary slightly.
While you can absolutely drink sauvignon blanc on its own, if you’d like to pair it with a meal or snack I recommend fish, chicken, light pasta, salads, or fruit and cheese, such as goat cheese, which all perfectly compliment the citrusy refreshing flavor of your sauv!
1. KIM CRAWFORD
If you are a sauvignon blanc fan Kim Crawford has become a cult favorite, but I still can’t recommend it enough. It has been a long time favorite of mine and only averages $15 a bottle (often less on sale)! It’s crisp, slightly citrusy and very refreshing.
Prophecy, also from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, is a little softer in flavor than some others with tasting notes including lychee and Meyer lemon which is a little less tart than other lemons. It’s still crisp and refreshing and often for sale at $10!
Kono has been a go-to for me this summer. Also from the Marlborough region this winery prides itself on sustainable vineyards and processes. This one is heavier on the citrus notes but is not overly tart. Typically found for $10-12.
4. OYSTER BAY
Oyster Bay has become another Marlborough favorite found almost anywhere in the USA. Usually found $5 less than cult favorite counterpart, Kim Crawford. I typically choose between the two based on which is on sale! I prefer Kim Crawford but if there is more than a $5 difference Oyster Bay is very good and well rounded in flavor!
Matua prides itself on being the first winery from New Zealand to create Sauvignon Blanc. While still citrusy this one includes notes of pineapple and basil. I often find this one at Target for under $15!
Whitehaven is one of two on this list I consider a little more of splurge purchase (for sauv) at $18-20 a bottle. It packs lots of classic sauvignon blanc flavors in one – citrusy, grassy, tropical and even has notes of pear. While a tiny bit spendier it’s worth it and often can be found on sale for closer to $15!
Nobilo is another well rounded sauv with a mix of citrus, fruit, and herbs. The winemaker (Nobilo) family has over 300 years of winemaking experience that started in Europe and moved over to New Zealand. This has been another absolute go to in household! Typically found in the $10-12 range.
8. THE CROSSINGS
While I haven’t seen this one as often at the store I’ve started to notice it on restaurant menus and it is so good! While still crisp it’s a little on the softer fruity side than tart citrus. It’s only about $10 at retail so pretty affordable on most menus as well!
9. CLOUDY BAY
If I was going purely on favorites on this list I’d have Cloudy Bay as #1, it’s easily the most premium Sauvignon Blanc distributed to the USA but comes at a heftier price for sauvignon blanc, typically $30 a bottle. It is a very true to Marlborough sauv with the citrus and lemongrass heavy tastes but also includes lime and peach giving it unique and still balanced flavor. This is my splurge or gifting choice!
Haymaker is a little harder to find, but it is on this list because my local Trader Joes stocks it and I pay LESS THAN $5 a bottle, so if you can find it, it’s worth a try! It is on the more crisp and citrusy side which I enjoy. There aren’t many wines at this price point I’d recommend, and if it’s not your thing, you didn’t have to spend much to figure out!
There are SO many more great New Zealand sauvignon blancs out there, but these are my top picks for fairly easy to find in the USA. Any favorites of yours I’m missing?! Tell me about them in the comments, I’d love to try them out!