One of the world’s most widely planted grape varieties, Sauvignon Blanc started life in France’s Bordeaux region before finding acclaim across France and further afield in New Zealand, South Africa and Chile.
Sauvignon Blanc is wonderfully versatile offering different flavours when planted in differing soils. In France, it is typically nuanced and terroir-driven giving crisp, dry, aromatic and refreshing flavours in dry whites and acting as support when made in sweet styles.
Scroll down to see 20 top-rated Sauvignon Blanc tasting notes and scores
The grape enjoys critical success in Bordeaux’s Pessac-Léognan and Entre-Deux-Mers regions as well as the Loire Valley appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, arguably two of the finest areas for the grape’s production – and where the flavours take on strong, smoky and flinty characteristics.
Sauvignon’s stronghold expands throughout the Loire with fine examples to be found in Touraine, Menetou-Salon, Reuilly and Quincy.
It is also the exception to the general rule of Chardonnay or Aligoté in Burgundy in one of the region’s more unusual appellations, St-Bris located a few kilometres from Chablis with similar terroir to much of the Loire Valley.
Most Sauvignon’s are fermented at relatively low temperatures and aged in stainless steel tanks to retain the fruit’s freshness and youth but some can withstand small proportions of oak ageing.
The below list is a collection of the top-rated Sauvignons from around France, most with prices to match their scores. Like fine Chardonnays or Chenins many of these command prices between £17-30 with some bottles nearing £40.
And while many Sauvignon Blancs are designed to be consumed young and won’t reward years of cellaring, some of these wines have fantastic ageability and longevity.
When speaking to Peter Richards MW on ageing Sauvignon Blanc the late Denis Dubourdieu, respected winemaker and professor of oenology at the University of Bordeaux, said: ‘Of course, there’s Sauvignon Blanc and there’s Sauvignon Blanc. I adore Sauvignons from Pouilly and Sancerre, which take on an inimitable truffley bouquet after a couple of years in bottle.
‘It’s a variety that can make age worthy wines, depending on the terroir and vintage, when it is grown in the right climate, low in pH and rich in aroma precursors.
In fact, the ageing capacity of some Sauvignons is astonishing.’
Seek these wines out for drinking pleasure both now and in the future.