Estimates of U.S. wine sales in 1997 show yet another increase, reflecting the American consumer’s growing appetite for a range of varietal wines, both red and white. Most observers trace these gains to two trends: the continuing positive publicity concerning the potential health benefits of the moderate consumption of all types of beverage alcohol, particularly wine; and the increasing sophistication of U.S. wine consumers. To a degree, this latter trend is a result of the vastly expanded selection of wine on retailers’ shelves as well as much more aggressive efforts on the part of retailers and the wine industry to educate consumers about wine.

Chardonnay remains the most popular white wine in the U.S. but sales of whites that are less familiar to the general public, like sauvignon blanc, have also been increasing. Even so, for the most part, sauvignon blanc is still a relatively new drinking experience for many U.S. consumers. The grape itself is used in producing some dry white wines of distinction — notably sancerre and pouilly-fumé from the Loire in France — but there are also excellent examples of the varietal from other regions in the world.


With this in mind, we asked the Beverage & Food Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend of lineup of top quality/value sauvignon blancs. As always each selection includes a rating, brief tasting notes and the wine’s suggested retail price (which varies from market to market).— Richard Brandes

Rating System


*****Five Stars (92-100)
A top-flight wine. Superior in taste and character and
providing an outstanding price/value relationship.

****Four Stars (86-91)
A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.

***Three Stars (80-85)
An above-average wine, at a reasonable price point, which many customers will enjoy.

**Two Stars (70-79)
An average wine.

*One Star (50-69)
A below-average wine.

The Beverage & Food Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel recommends a collection of top sauvignon blancs as well as a lineup of additional quality wines.




*****(94) Ferrari-Carano 1996 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc (California). Fresh melon and fig flavors with a hint of herbal aroma; hints of sweet oak; rich, lingering finish. ($12)

*****(93) St. Supery 1996 Dollarhide Ranch Sauvignon Blanc (California). A pale straw color that belies the intense flavor of the wine; alluring scents of citrus fruits and figs; crisp flavors with harmonious fruit/acid balance; lingering finish; a classic. ($11)

*****(93) Duckhorn 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Hints of melon and grass on the nose;semillon blended in to create a luscious, full-bodied sauvignon blanc; clean finish. ($18)

*****(93) Cloudy Bay 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Packed with complex fruit flavors; a long finish; limited availability but one of the best. ($16)


*****(93) Chateau Souverain 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Melons and pear flavors dominate; a nice touch of oak adds to complexity; a great value. ($9)

*****(93) Grove Mill 1997 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Pungent, herbal tropical fruit nose with juicy intense gooseberry flavors and a lingering aftertaste; a surprising wine. ($17)

*****(92) Domaine La Colombette 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (France). Wonderfully crisp with lovely scents of grapefruit and freshly mown lawn; juicy, well-balanced flavors with a briskness and tightness that suggest pouilly fumé but is fleshier and more rounded; a delicious wine and outstanding value. ($11)

***** ((92) Caymus 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A full-bodied wine; lots of clean, ripe fruit; 10% chardonnay, 90% sauvignon blanc; a fantastic food wine, especially with Asian cuisine. ($12)


*****(92)Simi 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). An excellent sauvignon; abundant fruit flavors; maintains a dry, crisp finish. ($14)

*****(92) Alderbrook 1996 Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc (California). Fresh flavors of grapefruit, lemon and orange with a green-apple aroma; matches well with seafood and poultry. ($12)

****(92) Cain 1996 Musque (California). A wonderfully rich and complex wine; floral, peach and melon are mixed with a hint of oak; a creamy and crisp mouthfeel. ($16)

***** (92)Buttonwood 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Mouthwatering, ripe fruit flavors; great structure with ample acids. ($11)



****(91) Matanzas Creek 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Very stylish, more serious wine than many of its peers; goes really well with grilled fish. ($12.50)

****(91) Selaks 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). Plenty of grassy/citrus aromas and flavors; a nice, clean finish. ($12)

****(91) 1996 Domaine de la Perriere Sancerre (France). A crisp and lively wine with apple, pear, melon and lemon flavors; a classic sauvignon blanc that has a long, lively finish. ($18)

****(90) Murphy-Goode 1996 Reserve Fumé Blanc (California). A complex wine; balanced with oak and hints of vanilla; flavors of fig, melon and nectarine add to the finish; great with seafood. ($16)

****(90) St. Clement Vineyards 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A complex and well-balanced wine melon, herb and a hint of oak; smooth, creamy finish; goes well with scallops and shrimp. ($15)

****(90) 1996 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny (France). Great representative from the Loire Valley; fresh-mown hay aromas; delicious grassy flavors. ($9)

****(90) R.H. Phillips 1996 Night Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (California). A nice perfumed bouquet with oodles of crisp, juicy flavors, good balance and complexity; enjoyable from first sip to last. ($6)

**** (90) Adler Fels 1996 Fumé Blanc (California). A brilliant, fruity wine, brimming with peach, apricot, pear and citrus flavors that echo on the lively finish. ($10)

****(90) Geyser Peak 1997 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc (California). Ripe, melon-like fruit with hints of oak; flinty; a lighter style wine with good acid; fairly long finish. ($9)

****(90) Emmolo 1995 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Inviting aromas of ripe melon and fig lead to creamy flavors of vanilla; barrel-fermented and aged for seven months in French oak; a well-balanced, enjoyable wine. ($17)

****(90) Gallerie 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (France). A tasty and reasonably priced sauvignon from southern France; smooth and melony with hints of pear and a crisp finish. ($7)

****(90) Goyenechea 1997 Sauvignon Blanc (Argentina). A crisply textured wine with honeydew melon and Bosc pear notes; really nice. ($8)

****(90) Lurton Les Fumées Blanches 1996 (France). Herbal nose with fairly intense citrus flavors and a crisp, refreshing finish; lots of flavor for the money. ($6)

****(90) Jepson Estate 1996 Select Sauvignon Blanc (California). A lively and vibrant wine with hints of citrus; a reasonable value. ($9)

****(90) Merryvale 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Tropical fruit nose with lush fig flavors. ($15)

****(90) Merryvale 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Tropical fruit nose with lush fig flavors. ($15)

Buena Vista click here

****(90) Buena Vista 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Nice floral, melon and citrus flavors; a consistent value year in and year out. ($10)

****(89) Chateau Ste. Michelle 1996 Horse Heaven Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Washington State). Lively and crisp with citrus undertones; a good, rich finish; excellent with seafood. ($15)

****(89) Alameda Vintners 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A luscious and concentrated white featuring layers of crisp fig, melon and nectarine flavors. ($7)

****(89) Kenwood Sonoma 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A classic wine with melon flavors and a hint of fresh cut grass in its nose; great with chicken and lemon dishes. ($11)

****(89) DeLoach 1996 Fumé Blanc (California). A lively wine that features the grassy side of sauvignon blanc; hints of melon, fig and citrus; easy to drink. ($13)

****(89) Stoneleigh 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). A friendly style of herbaceous sauvignon; crisp and clean with an easy touch of grapefruit. ($9)


****(89) Monthaven 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A bright, fruity wine with polished, citrus edges that allow the pear and apple flavors to shine through. ($8)

****(89) Domaine Des Fontanelle 1995 (France). An attractive white that is fresh tasting, fruity and lively in texture, with vivid citrus and herb flavors. ($8)

****(89) Voss 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Downright sweet and dripping with honey; a touch of pineapple and spice; somewhat reminiscent of a late harvest bottling. ($12)

****(88) Firestone 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A rich, aromatic wine of delicate fruit with a hint of smoke; figs, melons and lemons on the palate. ($8)

****(88) Chartron La Fleur 1996 (France). Opulent, creamy and full-bodied, with intense flavors of fig, vanilla, melon and sweet cream. ($8)

****(88) Sterling 1996 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc (California). Floral aroma of gardenias complement the honeydew melon flavors of this crisp, dry wine; a long finish. ($10)

****(88) Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). A rich aroma of pear and melon; good acidity and balance; excellent with shellfish. ($14)

****(88) Kunde 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Creamy, elegant and dry; 81% sauvignon blanc; 15% semillon and 4% viognier. ($13)

****(87) Murphy-Goode 1996 Fumé Blanc(California). A consistent wine year in and year out; a round, lush style. ($9)

****(87) Viña Caliterra 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (Chile). One of the best sauvignon blancs produced in South America; exceptionally bright aromas of fresh citrus and herbs; lively finish. ($7)

****(87) Lakespring 1996 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (California). A flowery aroma and hint of fresh herbs; delicate and low in acidity; crisp and clean. ($10)

****(87) Fox Mountain 1995 Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc (California). Blended with viognier; peach and floral aromas; crisp and refreshing; produced and bottled by Foppiano. ($9)

Michale Lynch

****(86) Michel Lynch 1996 Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux (France). Fresh citrus aromas complement zesty lemon and melon flavors; white fruit is well-balanced with considerable length in the finish. ($9)

****(86) Markham 1995 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (California). Pleasant, smoky, ripe-melon aroma; full-bodied and well-balanced with peach flavors on the finish. ($10).

****(86) Concannon 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Complex apricot and grapefruit flavors; a nice finish; a consistently good wine. ($11)

****(86) Bernard Griffin 1995 Fumé Blanc (Washington State). Lots of melon and fig aromas with hints of pink grapefruit and oak; melon flavors on front of palate with grapefruit and oak complexity in the middle and back; good viscosity; flavors linger more than most sauvignon blancs. ($10)



*** (85) Indigo Hills 1995 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc (California). A wine of distinctive citrus and melon flavors; a touch of oak and a crisp, clean finish of grapefruit and lemon. ($9)

Marquis de Chasse

***(85) 1996 Marques de Chasse Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon (France). Fresh, citrusy and tasty; a solid white bordeaux with firm textures and a lengthy finish. ($7)

*** (85) Kendall-Jackson 1996 Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (California). Medium nose; mild citrus and melon flavors; an easy, clean finish. ($9)

*** (85) Benziger 1996 Fumé Blanc (California). A smoky nose; packed with intense melon flavor and a grassy quality; an excellent food wine. ($9)

*** (85) Lolonis 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (California). Light gold; hints of citrus on the nose; long grapefruit finish; organically-farmed grapes. ($13)

*** (85) La Playa 1996 Sauvignon Blanc (Chile). Crisp and refreshing; good fruit and nice spiciness on the finish. ($6)

*** (84) Walnut Crest 1995 Sauvignon Blanc (Chile). A nice, light, fruity sauvignon that delivers real value. ($4.50)

*** (83) Robert Mondavi 1995 Coastal Sauvignon Blanc (California). Melon, fig, green apple and pear aromas; citrus flavors with some softer melon and herb notes in the middle and back of the palate; balanced with relatively high acid on a moderately long finish. ($9)




***** (95) San Vicente Rioja 1995 (Spain). Incredible structure; rich, ripe fruit and ample tannins; 100% tempranillo; wonderfully well-balanced. ($30)

***** (95) Domaine Thibert 1996 Pouilly-Fuisse (France). Made with 100% chardonnay from one of France’s best vineyards; well-structured fruit with a hint of lemon and apple/pear flavors; serve with shellfish and chicken. ($17)


***** (95) Joseph Phelps Vin du Mistral 1996 Viognier (California). A white wine for red wine lovers; peaches and spice on the nose and palate; an excellent wine. ($28)

***** (95) Hidden Cellars 1995 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah (California). Intense, dense and dark; packed with blackberry fruits; lots of structure for longevity. ($29)

***** (94) David Bruce 1994 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (California). A rich, succulent cabernet with oodles of currant and black cherry; better in two to four years, but who can wait? ($21)

***** (94) Wood Duck Pond 1995 Zinfandel (California). Bramble, berry flavors with lots of spice and black pepper; superb balance; a delight. ($15)

***** (94) Steele 1996 Chardonnay (California). Fantastic; packed with lots of ripe pear, nectarine and honey notes; smooth, elegant and nicely balanced. ($23)

***** (93) Marquis de Griñon “Collection Personal” Rioja Reserva 1990 (Spain). Big, sweet, jammy cherry and plum fruit aromas with a lot of depth; good fruit definition on front of palate, followed by wood, tobacco and spice flavors; balanced with enough tannin for structure in a long finish. ($16)

***** (92) Mer Soleil 1995 Central Coast Chardonnay (California). Rich, buttery complex flavors; well-balanced; pear, fig and apricot notes with a rich, toasty oakiness; classic chardonnay. ($33)



**** (91) Chateau Haut Renaissance 1993 (France). The blend of 90% merlot/10% cabernet sauvignon is produced from old vines and aged in new oak; rich, full-bodied and well-balanced. ($16)

**** (91) ZD 1993 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (California). Deep garnet color; cassis nose; surprising light tannins with black currant and plum flavors; a long finish. ($50)

**** (91) Glen Carlou 1997 Chardonnay (South Africa). One of the best chardonnays from South Africa; creamy, ripe peach aromas and flavors; good, full palate; luxurious finish. ($11)

**** (91) Terre Rouge Sierra Foothills 1996 “Blanc” (California). Cluster-pressed, barrel-fermented and aged sur-lie; a blend of 68% sauvignon blanc; 27% semillon and 5% viognier; richly flavored; a delight. ($12)

**** (91) Mont Tauch Fitou 1995 (France). An engaging wine from the small southern French appellation of Fitou; ripe red berry flavors and aromas in a smooth, harmonious package. ($8)

**** (90) Edmunds St. John 1995 California Sirah (California). Deep, black fruits, spices and pepper in a full-bodied, earthy style; great with hearty black bean soup. ($16)

**** (90) Guigal Cotes du Rhone White 1996 (France). Fruit salad nose; lush mouthful of spicy tropical fruit with a lingering finish; lots of character for the price. ($10)

**** (88) Torre Spina Montepulciano 1996 (Italy). A ripe and juicy red featuring gobs of currant and blackberry flavors; soft and persistent finish. ($6)

**** (87) Louis Jadot Macon-Village 1996 Chardonnay (France). A strong, flinty style of chardonnay, with balanced oak and a Marquis de Chasse crisp, refreshing finish. ($10)

**** (87) Marques de Chasse 1995 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon (France). This full-bodied bordeaux is 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon; intensely fruity with spicy plum, cherry and
red currant flavors. ($7.50)

**** (86) Ventana 1996 Monterey Merlot (California). Smooth, with ripe berry tones; a well-balanced wine. ($11)


ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Orlando, FL
Brad Lewis
Director of Wine Sales

Aida’s World of Liquors
Staten Island, NY
Ross Levin
Alex B. Williams
Wine Consultant

Retail Liquor
Overland Park, KS
Debra Lucke-Beachner

Ben’s Discount
Reno, NV
Tad Saunders
Wine Manager

Berbiglia Wines & Spirits
Kansas City, MO
Ralph J. Bondon
Vice President/Owner

Beverages, and more!
Pleasant Hill, CA
Wilfred Wong
Wine Buyer

Bill’s Liquor Stores
Beaufort, SC
Celia Strong
Wine Buyer

Bottle King Liquors
Livingston, NJ
Larry LaScola
Managing Partner/ General Manager

Brown Derby Stores
Springfield, MO
Gary Franklin
Sales Manager

Buy-Rite Corp.
Brick, NJ
John Donohue
Director of

Chanhassen, MN
John Wiggins
Store Manager

Byron’s Wines
& Spirits
Oklahoma City, OK
Chris Putnam
Wine Manager

Centennial Liquors
Dallas, TX
Roger H. Voss
Executive VP, Buyer

College Station Liquors
Richmond, KY
Michael W. Parker

Crown Wine Merchants
Coral Gables, FL
Chip Cassidy
Wine Director

Don’s & Ben’s
Liquor Barn
San Antonio, TX
Bob Smith
Wine Consultant

Sunset Corners
Miami, FL
Michael Bittel

Frank’s Union Liquor Mart
Wilmington, DE
Frank Pagliaro

Frugal MacDoogal’s
Beverage Warehouse
Nashville, TN
Russell DeVore
Wine Manager

Giles Liquors
Medford, MA
Larry McDonnell

Glen Oaks Liquor
Laurel Springs, NJ
Thomas Stearns

Gold Standard
Skokie, IL
Barbara Herman
Wine Buyer

Grand Wine and Liquor
Queens, NY
Kim Ginsberg
General Manager

Happy Harry’s
Bottle Shop
Grand Forks, ND
Todd Jacobson
General Manager

Minnetonka, MN
Daniel A. Manning
Vice President

Huntington Wine & Spirits
San Marino, CA
Bruce Hotra

The Jug Shop
San Francisco, CA
Chuck Hayward
Wine Buyer

Liquorama Wine Cellar
Hyde Park, NY
Maggie Gephard
VP/General Manager

Liquor Mart
Boulder, CO
Tom Delia
Wine Manager
D. Scott Cordova
Wine Consultant

Liquor World
Claymont, DE
Michael Mulderig
Wine Buyer

Martin Wine Cellar
New Orleans, LA
Ric Hopper
Wine Manager

Dallas, TX
Jasper Russo
General Manager

Max’s Package Store
East Lyme, CT
Alan Wilensky
VP, Manager

Mel & Rose Wine Liquor Deli
Los Angeles, CA
Shawn Banayan
Wine Buyer/Owner

Morrell & Co.
New York, NY
Peter Morrell

The Party Source
Louisville, KY
Anne Joseph
Wine Buyer

Plaza Fine Wine & Spirits
Highland Village, TX
Wes Brown
Wine Buyer

Tower Market
San Francisco, CA
Kimberly Selby
Wine/Spirits Manager

Pop’s Wine & Spirits
Island Park, NY
Jerry Martellaro
Vice President

Premier Group
Buffalo, NY
Lydia Tremble
Senior Wine Consultant

Premium Wine & Spirits
Buffalo, NY
Jeff Vignaux
General Manager

Red Carpet
Wine & Spirits
Glendale, CA
Allen Ralston,
Wine Buyer

Sam’s Wine Warehouse
Chicago, IL
Tom LaChine
California Wine Buyer

Schaefer’s Wines,
Foods & Spirits
Skokie, IL
George Schaefer
Sterling Pratt
Wine Director

Sherlock’s Beer &
Wine Warehouse
Marietta, GA
W. Edwin True
Wine Director

Shop-Rite Liquors
Cliffside Park, NJ
Tom Najarian

Sigel’s Beverages
Dallas, TX
John Rector
VP, Marketing

Steve’s Liquor Store
Newtown, CT
Stephen Small

St. Helena
Wine Merchants
St. Helena, CA
Stephen Blateric
Wine Buyer/Manager

Summit Liquor
White Bear Lake, MN
Bob Striker

Sunset Food Mart
Lake Forest, IL
Stanley Post

Sutton Place Gourmet
Alexandria, VA
Jeff Wallingford
Wine Manager/Buyer

Town Center Liquors
Brewster, NY
Joseph A. Chianese
Wine Buyer

Town Wine & Spirits
Rumsford, RI
Nick Zeiser, Wine Director

Santa Rosa, CA
Bill Traverso
Co-Owner/Wine Buyer

The Wine Cellar
Cinnaminson, NJ
Bill Hendrickson, Owner

The Wine & Spirits Emporium
Bronxville, NY
Alfredo Cruz, President

Yankee Spirits
Sturbridge, MA
Paul E. Provost
Vice President,
Wine Director

Wine & Liquor
Scarsdale, NY
Harvey Savadsky
Wine Buyer


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