When I think about white wines for spring, I think Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp, fruity and refreshing, it's the perfect thing to break the doldrums of winter. The grape has found a home in almost every wine region in the world, and it expresses itself in unique ways depending on the terroir and winemaking. For this tasting, wines from three different continents topped the panel's list of favorites.
Emmolo winemaker Jenny Wagner has deep roots in Napa Valley, having grown up at her family's famous Caymus Vineyards. The aromas are elegantly floral with peach, melon and ripe citrus fruit. Exceptionally well-balanced, the honeyed lime, kiwi and creamy stone fruit flavors are backed by crisp citrus and a light touch of spice on the long finish.
"Jules Taylor" may sound like the name of a designer for a high-end clothing line, but she's a top Marlborough winemaker crafting a quintessential New Zealand Sauv Blanc. A lively core of grapefruit, both on the nose and the palate, drives this crisp white. It's a bit more restrained than some Kiwi Sauvs, and touches of pineapple and jalapeno add interest to this fruit-forward refresher.
A great bottle when first released, this Loire, France, entry is still going strong, bottle-aging having added richness and depth. The nose is a heady mix of apple, Meyer lemon, lime and casaba melon. All of that comes through on the round, ripe palate, while a touch of mineral colors the smooth, lingering finish. It's a bargain-priced no-brainer.