THE YEAR'S BEST
  Each issue of Wine & Spirits focuses on one variety or group of related wines and selects the best wines in that category for the year.

August 2005

Over the last twelve months,
Wine & Spirits tasted 168 sauvignon blancs.

The following 15 wines received the strongest praise from our critics. Click here for a complete list of all sauvignon blanc wines tasted, with the recommended wines highlighted.

Sauvignon Blanc
93 I Rochioli $29
2003 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Rochioli consistently grows one of the most sophisticated sauvignons in the New World, from vines Joe Rochioli planted on their Russian River estate in 1959. Forty-four years later, grapes from those vines blended with fruit from a hillside block (planted in '85) gave a sauvignon with gooseberry tartness, balanced by a crispness that recalls flint and fresh-cut mint. What makes the wine so compelling is the contrast of the rich texture with the searing crispness, like a cool ocean current running underneath. It's dynamic and satisfying, a delicious coastal white. (W&S 10/04) J. Rochioli Vineyards, Healdsburg, CA
 

 
92 I Charles Krug $16
2004 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Scents of lemongrass, litchi and lime create layers of exotic spice and fruit in this rich sauvignon. The fruit is brisk and fresh, balancing its warm, round texture. This should develop over the coming year, to serve with Vietnamese green curry chicken or fish. (5,500 cases) (W&S 8/05) Charles Krug Winery, St. Helena, CA
 

 
92 I Selene $24
2003 Carneros Hyde Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

Cleanly delineated fresh lime flavor fills the soft, cushioned texture of this wine. Then it lasts in shades of green from herb, to lime zest, to a touch of artichoke. The balance between the piercing clarity of flavor and the fleshiness of the wine make it a mouthwatering match for seared scallops or fried clams. (1,742 cases) (W&S 10/04) Selene Wines, Napa, CA
 

 
91 I Hanna $17
2004 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Cool and rich when first poured, this takes a day of air for the intensity of the flavors to develop, a balance of lime zest and cold, stony mineral tones. Cellar it for six months to a year, then drink with any roast fish. (W&S 8/05) Hanna Winery, Santa Rosa, CA
 

 
91 I Provenance $19
2003 Rutherford-Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Tense and brisk for now, this contrasts citrusy flavors of orange oil with toasted lees. It should open over the next year, a rich complement to roast salmon and chanterelles. (550 cases) (W&S 10/04) Provenance Vineyards, Napa, CA
 

 
90 I Francis Coppola $16
2004 Napa Valley Diamond Collection Yellow Label Sauvignon Blanc

There's a deep, potent ripeness to this wine, in contrast to the initial scent of tart tangerine. It develops into subtle melon and fresh pineapple flavors with air, a white to chill for General Tsao's chicken. (W&S 8/05) Francis Coppola Diamond Collection, Oakville, CA
 

 
90 I Dry Creek Vineyard $25
2003 Dry Creek Valley Taylor's Vineyard Sauvignon Musqué

Ripened to an exotic fruit character, this wine's flavors of honeydew melon edge toward tropical fruit, yet the wine finishes dry, with a chalky mineral acidity. Serve it with cod crusted in toasted bread crumbs. (W&S 8/05) Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg, CA
 

 
89 I Geyser Peak $21
2004 Russian River Valley Block Collection River Road Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

Ripened to a tropical fruit sweetness, this sauvignon holds a fresh, clean balance, from peach and guava to dusty mineral talc. Serve it with grilled fish and fruit salsa. (860 cases) (W&S 8/05) Geyser Peak Winery, Geyserville, CA
 

 
89 I Barefoot $14.99
2003 Dry Creek Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

A lean, green sauvignon with simple lines, this spicy, grapefruit-scented wine will balance sliced fish with sour cabbage or flounder steamed with ginger and scallions. (790 cases) (W&S 8/05) Barefoot Cellars, Forestville, CA
 

 
89 I Girard $15
2003 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Clean, fresh lime juice flavors enliven this crisp sauvignon. It fills out with a touch of sweetness for veal, chicken or fish - any white meat sautéed with mushrooms. (4,200 cases) (W&S 10/04) Girard Winery, Napa, CA