We’re determined to publish our “Top 5 value sauvignon blancs” before the official end of summer in September, but this Top 5 list poses particular challenges. There are several distinct styles of this popular summer sipper, and representing each of them in a list of just five wines requires some serious juggling.
The intense and bracing sauvignon blancs from New Zealand’s Marlborough region will undoubtedly top the list, since the grassy, citrusy wines have grown immensely popular over the past decade or so and are often considered the world’s best. But a nod should also go to the subtle minerality of sauvignon blanc from the grape’s native France, particularly the Loire Valley. While some room on the list must be made for sauvignon blanc from the Americas, floral-scented wines that typically express a middle ground between the vibrant intensity of New Zealand and the chalky complexity of French sauvignon blanc.
One candidate to represent North America is Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc California 2012, which typically sells for about $12 a bottle, but can be found for as little at $9 a bottle on sale a Rodman’s on Wisconsin Ave., NW, just south of Friendship Heights.
It’s widely available in DC as well as in Maryland and Virginia (try Total Wine and Montgomery County Liquor stores), and it has the consistency from year to year that we look for in our Top 5 selections. Between Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator magazines, Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc has earned 89, 89, 88 and 89 points in each of the past four years. And CellarTracker.com’s users have given high marks to an unbroken succession of 10 straight vintages.
More importantly, the current 2012 release earned a big thumbs-up from our favorite wine blogger, The Wine Curmudgeon.
“California-style sauvignon blanc doesn't get much better than this, and it's even more stunning at this price [$10],” he writes. “The wine is varietally correct (grassy-ness and citrus), has flavors in the front, middle, and back, and is crisp and refreshing to boot. Highly recommended and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.”
“Honeysuckle and peach blossom aromatics are intriguing, giving way to honeydew melon, Key lime pie and peach flavors, with a vividly bright and refreshing acidity,” is how Wine Spectator’s MaryAnn Worobiec described the 2012 Joel Gott in the August 31 issue.
“Nose of citrus and actually a slight hint of minerality, which is unusual for a SB,” wrote a CellarTracker user who posts tasting notes under the username, ddisler. “Good clean mouthfeel with grapefruit and lime coming forward and a reasonably long finish with grass-like flavor.”
The sale price at Rodman’s is within pennies of the lowest price in the country. So if you need to stock up on a good sauvignon blanc for these last few weeks of summer, it might be worth a trip to Friendship Heights.
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