Nothing shakes off the winter doldrums like a cool glass of sauvignon blanc. This popular grape has found a home in wine regions around the world, from Argentina to Australia. What's interesting is how varied the resulting wines can be. This week's top picks are from three different countries, and are made in three very different styles.
2011 De Stefani Venis, $28
The grapes for this Italian entry come from the Le Ronche estate, located northeast of Venice. The aromas here are reserved but lovely, with sweet clover, pink lady apples, wet stone and mineral. It's an elegantly structured, well-integrated wine that's subtle but complex. The creamy melon, gooseberry and ripe apple flavors are balanced by high-toned acidity on the crisp and refreshing finish.
2011 Domaine Fournier Sauvignon, $13.99
This wine is from a family owned domaine in France's Loire Valley that is known for its outstanding Sancerres. This entry-level bottling is made with grapes from younger vines, but profits from that pedigree. The enticing Waldorf salad-like aromas combine green apple, celery, fresh cut hay and lavender. The palate is a refreshing mix of bright apple, honeydew melon and lime, while the crisp finish is colored by shades of basil and citrus zest.
2012 Jules Taylor Wines Sauvignon Blanc, $17.99
This is quintessential New Zealand sauvignon blanc, a pure expression of the variety with that sassy Kiwi attitude. You get bright citrus and grass on the nose with a big hit of herb and an intriguing bit of dill. In the mouth, it's a vibrant combo of citrus fruit (crisp lemon, lime and grapefruit), melon and apple, backed by touches of white pepper and lemon zest on the racy finish.