2020 Top Values
Crisp, refreshing whites are more popular than ever and producers around the world have taken notice, delivering affordable examples from a range of grape varieties. The move toward cooler-climate regions has helped to expand the category, yielding the freshness and vibrancy necessary for this light-bodied style. Sauvignon Blanc continues to offer outstanding versions from multiple regions, but there are other bright, sleek wines to be found everywhere from Austria to Greece to Portugal.
93$17Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2019 | New Zealand | This stylish white is generous and intense, with vivid flavors of lemon curd, apricot and lime sherbet, accented by green tea, white pepper and passion fruit. —M.W.
92$19Mason Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Yount Mill Vineyard 2019 | California | Bright and expressive, with vibrant Key lime, passion fruit and mango flavors that sing out with purity and intensity. Lemon verbena and litsea oil notes linger. —M.W.
92$20Chan de Rosas Albariño Rias Baixas Cuvée Especial 2018 | Spain | Expressive and energetic, yet almost weightless, this breezes across the palate, with lime blossom, seashore, peach and chalk notes, lively and harmonious. Graceful and long. —T.M.
91$17Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2019 | New Zealand | Offers a precise and intense mix of ruby grapefruit, Meyer lemon and lemongrass flavors, with lingering notes of poached pear, passion fruit and green apple candy. —M.W.
91$18Kunde Family Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Valley Magnolia Lane 2019 | California | A savory thread of beeswax and a saline accent emerge at the start of this wine, which evolves into a lush, fragrant mix of peach, ripe melon, honeysuckle and lemon curd flavors, set on a lush, juicy body. —M.W.
91$20Terenzuola Vermentino Colli di Luni-Tuscany Fosso di Corsano 2018 | Italy | This intense white features petrol, apple pie and peach aromas and flavors, with a thread of vibrant acidity. Harmonious, with a long, salty aftertaste. —B.S.
91$25Domaine Chevreau Sancerre Les Terres Blanches 2018 | France | Savory, with herbal and mineral notes behind white peach and grapefruit flavors. Well-balanced and complex, exhibiting great intensity and focus. —A.Z.
90$12Bodega Cuatro Rayas Verdejo Rueda 2019 | Spain | Floral and seaspray aromas are alluring in this lively, graceful white, with pear, herbal and chalky flavors brightened by citrus acidity. —T.M.
90$13Arona Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2019 | New Zealand | Intense and fragrant, with orange blossom, green apple and mango flavors set on a juicy, fleshy frame. The succulence and purity of the fruit core sets this apart. —M.W.
90$17Marotti Campi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Luzano 2018 | Italy | A subtle streak of salinity underscores flavors of baked peach, preserved lemon and almond biscotti in this lightly creamy white. Fresh and balanced, with hints of chamomile and spice on the finish. —A.N.
90$19J. Hofstätter Pinot Grigio Vigneti delle Dolomiti 2018 | Italy | Like biting into a ripe Gala apple, this light-bodied white is honeyed and crisp, with a lovely, zesty chime of stony minerality driving through to the creamy finish. —A.N.
90$19Suavia Garganega Soave Classico 2018 | Italy | Sleek and well-cut, this light- to medium-bodied white features a lively mix of passion fruit, Meyer lemon zest and green pear flavors, with a streak of petrol-laced mineral on the finish. —A.N.
90$21Cooperativa Vitivinícola Arousana Albariño Rias Baixas Paco & Lola 2018 | Spain | Racy acidity energizes this vibrant white, with leesy blanched almond, tarragon and briny notes that impart a succulent, savory character. Lively and firm. —T.M.
89$11Frisk Riesling Victoria Prickly 2019 | Australia | Charming, crisp and intense, with mouthwatering candied green apple and peach flavors that are light and lively, showing touches of apple blossom and a bit of spritz on the finish. —M.W.
89$12Real Companhia Velha Douro White Porca de Murça 2019 | Portugal | Vibrant acidity marks the honeysuckle, melon and lime zest notes of this clean, light-bodied white, with details of spice, mineral, tangerine and flowers on the finish. —G.S.
89$14Zacharias Assyrtiko Péloponnèse 2018 | Greece | Sleek, lightly juicy acidity frames flavors of Asian pear, ripe melon and grated ginger in this balanced, light-bodied white, underscored by a minerally hint of pumice. —A.N.
89$15Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2018 | South Africa | This bright white leans more toward stone fruit flavors, with white peach, dandelion and sea salt notes streaking along, showing hints of vanilla spice. —A.Z.
89$16Alsace Willm Riesling Alsace Réserve 2017 | France | A bright, minerally and light-bodied white, with a creamy range of yellow plum, preserved lemon, delicate spice, sage and petrol notes, followed by a clean-cut finish. —A.N.
88$11Quinta de Cabriz Dão White 2019 | Portugal | Mineral and floral underpinnings flank the creamy peach and cantaloupe flavors in this light- to medium-bodied white, with hints of honey and spice on the finish. —G.S.
88$16Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Kamptal Schlosskellerei 2018 | Austria | Combining notes of yellow apple with tobacco leaf flavors, this well-knit white is silky in texture, with vibrant acidity and minerally elements that add complexity. Leaves a savory herbal hint on the finish. —A.Z.