Beer & Wine Wine

The 12 Best Sauvignon Blancs to Drink in 2021

From Bordeaux to Napa, New Zealand to South Africa, and beyond.

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You love wine, but you crave a bottle with a light touch; something dry perhaps with elements of citrus, vibrant wild herbs, or tropical fruit notes; and you want it to be a white wine because wine with a darker color would impede upon your view of the shoreline as you idle in your sailboat on a glowy afternoon. You’re in luck; it’s sauvignon blanc.

The sauvignon blanc grape has origins in France’s Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions, but it’s grown so popular that you can find primo wines coming from every continent on earth, including notable hot spots in California and New Zealand. 

And when you’re bombarded by new exciting sauvignon blancs from all over the world, the only way to sift through them all and try the very best is to let me do that for you. Below you'll find my curated list of the best sauvignon blancs to drink right now.

Best Overall: Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: California, Santa Barbara
  • ABV: 12.6%
  • Tasting Notes: lime zest, kiwi, lemon.

From Eric Railsback and Justin Willett comes this Santa Ynez Valley laser-focused, mineral-bright white. California’s Central Coast is home to our top sauvignon blancs where the Santa Barbara micro-climates and marine-based soils come together to make truly brilliant wine. Sourced from three separate vineyards in the area, combining tank and barrel fermentation, Lieu Dit Winery proves itself to be a California nod to the French ethics of achieving wine perfection by way of an extreme acid trip.

Read Next: The Best Wines

Best Under $20: Dough Sauvignon Blanc 2019

dough Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: California, North Coast
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Tasting Notes: lemon and grapefruit

Dough Wines was launched by Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners in formal support of the James Beard Foundation’s commitment to inclusive and equitable changes to the culture of culinary arts. This bottle of blanc comes at the hands of winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen, who’s known for pumping out over 200 wines for MacRostie Winery reaching scores into the 90s by major wine reviewers. She keeps the momentum going with this bargain beauty from California’s North Coast.

Best Splurge: Gaja Alteni di Brassica 2017

Gaja Alteni di Brassica Langhe 2017

Courtesy of Vivino

  • Region: Italy, Piedmont
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Tasting Note: citrus, quince, green apple, sage, apricot, honey

The terroir of the Piedmont region of northern Italy has two distinctive traits recognizable in any glass of their wines: One, the minerality of their soil, and two, the flora that grows on their land. These lovely elements stand proud in the 2017 Alteni di Brassica Sauvignon Blanc from Gaja for a wine too refined to count as decadent, but too full of surprises to count as ordinary.

Read Next: The Best White Wines

Best Napa: Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance 2018

Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance 2018

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: California, Napa Valley
  • ABV: 13.2%
  • Tasting Note: jasmine, honeysuckle, kiwi, yellow apple, white peach, Bosc pear

Winemaker Aaron Pott gets a good squeeze out of the fruit sourced from the crisp, cool climate in the higher altitudes of Carneros in Napa that makes this a noteworthy sauvignon blanc. And the hits from Blackbird keep coming: The 2018 vintage may win the Napa crown, but the also-superb 2019 vintage is just as worthy.

Best Sonoma: B.R. Cohn Sauvignon Blanc 2018

B.R. Cohn Silver Label Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Courtesy of Vivino

  • Region: California, Sonoma Valley
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Tasting Note: lime zest, poached pear, white peach, stone fruit, wet rock mineral finish

Sonoma Valley, with its cool coastal night and warm sunshine days, is an excellent place for growing exemplary sauvignon blanc. This bottle from B.R. Cohn has the added bonus of having been sourced from a vineyard that sits over underground hot springs that warms the soil and helps maintain ripening during those cool evenings—it is Sonoma’s best on this list because it balances the appellation’s characteristic acidity with generous fruit flavors.

Best California: Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: California, North Coast
  • ABV: 14.1%
  • Tasting Notes: citrus, grapefruit, melon, green apple, floral and nutty undertones

Spottswoode is a wine producer of much renown and history. Though founded by the Novak family in 1972, the land on their estate has been a bastion for pristine wine grapes since 1882. Their 2018 vintage of sauvignon blanc is what happens when the confluence of time-tested land meets the expertise and care that comes from a family-run operation. You can really sink your teeth into this one. This bottle has a swagger that makes California proud.

Best French: Ladoucette Pouilly-Fume 2018

Ladoucette Pouilly-Fume 2018

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: France, Pouilly-Fume, Loire
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Tasting Notes: floral, lemon, lime, honey

The Ladoucette estate looks like it was ripped from a fairytale with its castle-like château. The land was once owned by the illegitimate daughter of King Louis XV but has been in the Ladoucette Family’s hands since 1787 making nothing but some of the most highly-regarded white wines in all the world. Their 2018 sauvignon blanc pairs perfectly with the estate’s majesty; the perfect wine for after a long day of slaying dragons. It is refreshingly light and dry while still balanced and medium-bodied.

Best New Zealand: Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: New Zealand, Marlborough
  • ABV: 13%
  • Tasting Notes: grapefruit, pineapple, lychee, passion fruit

One rule of thumb when it comes to sauvignon blanc is that you can often be assured that if it comes from New Zealand, it’s a doozy of a bottle. The country’s oceanic climate makes for ideal grape-growing conditions, and in particular, the Marlborough region in the South Island’s northern edge is famous for its particular brands of blanc. What Dashwood has above its neighbors is award-winning winemaker Stu Marfell. This 2019 vintage is a fine example of that New Zealand flavor. The dry white wine is grassy and spicy on the back end, making for an absolutely scrumptious pour. Pair it with shellfish and salad.

Best South Africa: NV Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

Courtesy of Vivino

  • Region: South Africa, Western Cape, Constantia
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Tasting Notes: peach, green apple, melon, mango.

Nestled in the cape that gives Cape Town its name, the Steenberg Estate benefits immensely from the land’s natural terroir. The area’s micro-climate combined with the lean soils of decomposed granite makes it one of South Africa’s top spots for making cool, refreshing sauvignon blanc. And to make it even more refreshing, this one has bubbles. This sparkling wine zips over the tongue with great vigor. Best served cold on a hot summer’s day, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it in the wintertime too.

Read Next: The Best Sparkling Wines

Best Italian: Jermann Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Jermann Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Courtesy of Vivino

  • Region: Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
  • ABV: 13%
  • Tasting Note: citrus, apple aroma, pear, apricot

Italy’s Friuli-Venezia region in the country’s north-eastern corner is famous as a breeding ground for some of the finest white wines. Winemaker Silvio Jermann has been working in the trenches to earn the distinction of making wine that’s representative of the region. Their wines are loved all over the world and this bottle of sauvignon blanc is a great example of why.

Best Chilean: Matetic EQ Coastal 2019

Matetic EQ Coastal

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Chile, Casablanca Valley
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Tasting Notes: pineapple, mango, papaya, grapefruit

One of the great things about growing wine in Chile is that you’re never too far from Pacific coastal breezes and Matetic Vineyards, a fully organic and biodynamic estate, is right in the pocket. As a bonus for the drinker, this high-caliber bottle somehow sells for an outrageously low price which makes one feel like a bandit and a wine connoisseur all at once. Don’t let the screw cap scare you away; underneath is a tropical paradise. It's fruity and crisp with a minerally texture and a long satisfying finish.

Read Next: The Best Wine Decanters

Best Organic: Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc California 2019

Bonterra Organically Grown Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: California
  • ABV: 13.2%
  • Tasting Notes: lime zest, lemon curd, white flowers, lemongrass, and tart green apple

Although winemaker Jeff Cichocki doesn’t live and die by it, he does follow the celestial calendar to help him make decisions on farming his grapes. After all, they are not just organically farmed, they are biodynamically farmed as well and that philosophy is deeply ingrained in the spirit energy of their vines—which translates to one of the most energetic and best organic sauvignon blancs out there.

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Why Trust Liquor.com?

Jonathan Cristaldi has written about wine and spirits for over a decade. He regularly tastes wines from around the globe, and personally tasted every wine in this roundup. Cristaldi was named a "Wine Prophet" by Time Out New York for his witty and often avant-garde approach to wine education.

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