World Sampler of Sauvignon Blancs

Similarities and varietal differences from five regions

The flavors of kiwi and lime tend to be primary sauvignon blanc characteristics. 

Unsurprisingly, the flavors of sauvignon blanc are fairly universal, as is the wine’s appeal.

Like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc is a popular wine that is produced in most of the world’s wine regions where indigenous grapes are not dictated by regulations or preferred by custom. The flavors are familiar ones of green fruits – kiwi, gooseberry, lime – with the primary differences being the degree to which these flavors dominate, the presence or absence of creamy characteristics, how crisp or acidic the finish is and the texture of the wine.

Here are eight recently tasted examples from three regions of the U.S., plus representatives of New Zealand and South Africa.

Franciscan Napa Valley sauvignon blanc 2014, $17

Green flavors of kiwi and lime, moderately full body, hint of cream at mid-palate with a wet-stone, crisp finish – very nice.

Robert Mondavi Oakville fumé blanc 2013, $32 

Full-bodied with a mélange of exotic fruit flavors, complex, long, and delicious, as is usual with this wine.

Robert Mondavi “Private Selection” California Sauvignon, $9 

Straight green herbal flavors – very simple, yet refreshing.

Paul Hobbs “CrossBarn” Sonoma County sauvignon blanc 2014, $23 

Well-done sauvignon with light vegetal flavors and pleasant spicy edges.

Macari “Katherine’s Field” North Fork sauvignon blanc 2014, $23

Very fresh yet creamy flavors of Granny Smith apples and gooseberries in a medium-weight presentation.

Nobilo “Icon” Marlborough sauvignon blanc 2014, $17 

If you could be drinking the wine doppelganger of gin, this would be it – lime and gooseberries, very floral, crisp finish.

Nobilo Marlborough sauvignon blanc 2014, $11 

Tart green flavors of lime and kiwi – a textbook Marlborough sauvignon, though not a complex one.

Nederburg “Winemaker’s Reserve” Western Cape sauvignon blanc 2014, $9 


Medium herbal flavors on the sauvignon green-fruit range with good texture and acidity.