For many casual drinkers, their default position when ordering a glass of white wine these days is to take a pass on Chardonnay and instead ask for Sauvignon Blanc. Except for Sancerre – the up-the-river Loire region where some of the best Sauvignon is produced – Sauvignon Blanc winegrowers are now choosing cooler areas with an ocean frontage nearby to grow or buy their grapes.
That has been the case all along with New Zealand, and it is now increasing with Chile, with its long frontage along the Pacific punctuated by small river valleys. So if you haven’t tried a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, now is the time to rectify that. In general, the flavors are not that dissimilar from those elsewhere, but many of the Chilean wines have an enjoyable underlying minerality.
As a bonus, all the Sauvignons in this sampling are under $30.
2020 Casas del Bosque “La Cantera” Valle de Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc ($18). Lovely blue-green aromas with kiwi, lime, and spice flavors and an excellent mouth feel.
2021 Koyle Costa “La Flor” San Antonio Sauvignon Blanc ($18). Crisp flavors of lime. But nothing herbal in the taste and going more toward minerality than fruit-forward with a touch of lemon in the finish.
2020 Virgen de Galir “Pagos del Galir” Godello Lias ($19) A very nice presentation of breadish flavors alongside lightly green, almost mellow kiwi fruit.
2020 Matetic “EQ Coastal” Valle de Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc ($20). A good flavor blend of kiwi green and yellow apple – supple flavors but not a mellow structure.
2020 Morande Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva ($20). Very herbal green fruitiness with a tart lime finish.
2019 Ritual Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($20). A Bordeaux-style Sauvignon, with lush fruitiness and what seems like light wood notes.
2021 Tabalí “Talinay” Valle de Limari Sauvignon Blanc ($24). Soft fragrances come up from the glass, but mainly tangy orange in the flavors with a crisp and tart finish.
2020 Amanya Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25). Pungent nose, with nice, ripe fruitiness and a tangy finish.
2019 Ventisquero “Grey [Glacier]” Valle de Atacama Sauvignon Blanc ($25). Very enjoyable – lovely fragrances of honeysuckle, but flavors of slate minerality with a citrus finish.
2021 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($27). A bargain for the price, with lovely, complex flavors, earthy floral, and lilting fruitiness.
NV Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sparkling Infusion – Strawberry and Kiwi and NV Sparkling Infusion – Peach ($11 each). The wine snob in me wants to turn my nose up at novelty wines, but, instead, these two made me raise my glass. Both are seductive, lightly fruity- sweet, yet crisp in the finish and guzzle-down good.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
The feature photo is courtesy of PIA.