Sauvignon Blanc is widely thought of being a Bordeaux grape variety. They usually come in the high shouldered Bordeaux style bottles and the name Sauvignon Blanc sounds Bordeaux-like. Actually, the grape originated further north, in the Loire Valley. It not a white mutant of Cabernet Sauvignon. Rather, Sauvignon Blanc, crossed with Cabernet Franc, is the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. As Cabernet Sauvignon grew in popularity in Bordeaux, so did Sauvignon Blanc for white wines. 

Sauvignon Blancs can be categorized into two main styles: Loire and Bordeaux. The former in sloped bottles and the latter in high shouldered ones. The Bordeaux style ones are sometimes blended with Semillon, the other principal white grape of Bordeaux. It is in the Loire Valley that Sauvignon Blanc is produced as a stand alone varietal. In Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire, it is known as Blanc Fumé and the ones from Pouilly are called Pouilly-Fumé.  Sauvignon Blanc was introduced to California in the late 19th Century where it made good but not highly impressive wines. But in in the 1970's Robert Mondavi visited the Loire Valley after a trip to Bordeaux and fell in love with the Sauvignon Blancs of Pouilly and Sancerre and he began making a wine from select clones which he called Pouilly-Fumé. The Mondavis no longer own the winery, but a Pouilly-Fumé is still made from grapes grown at the Oakville Estate vineyard.

There are seven Sauvignon Blancs in the September issue of the Review of Washington Wines here is how they fall into these two categories, along with some others recently tasted.

Loire Style

2020 Woodward Canyon Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Walla Walla Valley ($29) - Like Robert Mondavi, Rick Small visited the Loire Valley and fell in love with Sauvignon Blancs. This version shows wonderful purity. Reviewed September. 19/20 points.

2020 Browne Family Vineyards Bitner Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($24) - Also bottled in a sloped bottle, this is a fine value when purchased for $16.99. Reviewed September. 18.5/20 points.

2020 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County ($18) - Ferrari-Carano was an early adopter of Fumé Blanc after Mondavi. This one shows a brilliant straw color and attractive aromas of pear, peach, grapefruit, pear and orange blossoms, lemongrass and cut herbs. The flavors are fresh and lively, with notes of grape and pear skins and saline minerals. The back picks up poire and pêche liqueurs and lemon zest on the way to a crisp, nicely fruited finish. A super buy at $13.99. 18.5/20 points.

2020 Dominique Roger Sancerre, Domaine du Carrou Sancerre ($29.99 - - From a respected grower in Bué, this offers a brilliant gold color with aromas of Anjou pear, white peach, gooseberry, pear tree blossoms, jasmine, lemongrass and flintstone. The flavors are almost laser-like, with a beam of bright fruits that are accented by grape and pear skins and chalky minerals. The resonance continues on the back with poire and pêche liqueurs and lime zest, followed by a persistently mineraly finish. 18.5/20 points.

2019 Domaine Nicolas Gaudry Pouilly-Fumé ($22.99 - - Today, Sancerre commands higher prices than for those from across the Loire River. This one shows a straw-gold color and slightly smoky aromas of Anjou pear, white peach, gooseberry, Crenshaw melon, pear blossoms, lemon verbena, jasmine and green incense. The flavors are vibrant and crisp yet viscous, with white and green fruits that are accented by grape and pear skins and chalky minerals. On the back, the wine takes an elegant turn with pear and peach liqueurs and precisely balanced fruit acids. Great value compared to the more trendy Sancerre. 18.5+/20 points.

2019 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre ($39 - The Thief, Walla Walla and Esquin) - Reverdy is our go-to Sancerre. Very precise and finely fruited, it scores 19/20 points. Reviewed in the March 10 Blog posting below.

2020 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough ($16.99 - Safeway) - New Zealand is another country producing fine Sauvignon Blancs, particularly from the Marlborough region. This one features a light lemon-gold color and fresh aromas of pear, lemon, guava, kiwi, quince, verbena, cut grass and green incense. The flavors are crisp and laser-like, with notes of grape and pear skins and minerals. The vibrancy continues on the back with pear liqueur, lemon zest and tropical juices followed by a dry, fruity finish. 18+/20 points.

Bordeaux Style

2020 Three Rivers Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, Red Mountain, Artz Vineyard ($38) - This 67%, 33% combination is modeled after a fine White Bordeaux such as a Graves Blanc. Reviewed September.  19/20 points

2020 Seven Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($20) - The grape composition is not specified, but it comes on Bordeaux-like. September issue. 18.5/20 points.

2020 Seven Hills Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($30) - From hand-picked hillside vineyards, this shows considerable complexity. Reviewed September, 19/20 points.

2020 Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($12) - Crisply-styled, this is a super value at $7.99. 18+/20 points

2020 Novelty Hill Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($20) - Another fine value when purchased for $15.99. 18+/20 points.