The best wines from the Sauvignon Blanc Masters

We reveal the medallists from 2020’s Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters, including top-performing wines from Israel and Greece, as well as more traditional sources of greatness, such as France and New Zealand.

So, you want a wine that’s instantly recognisable, stylistically consistent and guaranteed to refresh fast? Well, an ideal solution is Sauvignon Blanc. With its hallmark pungency, citrus-based flavours and high acidity, wherever this grape comes from, one can expect certain traits, and Sauvignon’s always cool character has made it such a global success. Trialled broadly, and consumed widely, there are few places where Sauvignon isn’t grown, or sold. And it’s been a powerful force for wine generally, pleasing drinkers on the search for something reliable, bright, and with plenty of personality, while at the same time making the crisp, even green, a trendy trait. But what about the quality standard? Is that dependable too?

I remember chairing a Sauvignon Blanc Masters competition a number of years ago, and finishing a day’s judging feeling a little disappointed. As a grape renowned for its powerful aromatics, we had found ourselves searching to describe quite a large number of wines that were delicate on the nose and dilute in the mouth. As the judges agreed then, if there’s a white grape where one expects plenty of immediate flavour, it’s Sauvignon Blanc, so, where the wines offered little in the way of clear character, the scores were low.

Moving forward to the 2020 competition, and I’m delighted to say that we had no issue describing the wines, which were loaded with Sauvignon Blanc character. And this was true of the cheapest samples. Not only that, but the quality level was high and consistently so – with a large haul of very good sub-£10 Sauvignons with fruit, freshness, and a lasting flavour intensity. So, in short, the standard of Sauvignon Blanc is high today, and that’s true at a range of prices, and from a wide sweep of sources.

Within the sub-£10 samples of 2020, as the tables show, we had plenty of excellent wines, with a notably good base standard seen among the entries from New Zealand and Chile, although Eastern Europe also proved able to deliver plenty of Sauvignon bang for little in the way of buck. In general, the greener notes, such as capsicum, were more evident in the Marlborough-sourced samples, while the Chilean Sauvignon Blancs were more strongly citric in character.

Based on the entries in 2020, one needs to spend over £10 for Gold-standard Sauvignon, with three wines in the £10-£15 price band just nudging into this level of quality. More on the grassy, gooseberry and boxwood spectrum were the excellent wines from Marlborough’s Invivo and Yealands, while the Gold medal-winning South African from Durbanville Hills stood out for its oily texture and grapefruit-scented fruit, along with pleasantly chalky finish.

Having said that, we did find two Golds in the blended category under £10, one for Brancott, which featured a drop of Sauvignon Gris, and the other for Elgin, which had a touch of Semillon – both grapes brought a touch more texture to the dominant Sauvignon.

Back to the pure Sauvignons, and over £15 but under £20, and again it was South Africa and Marlborough that gained the Golds, including an organic expression from Stoneleigh. At a much higher price of around £35, there was a delicious sample with masses of ripe orchard fruits and pink grapefruit that hailed from Israel’s Tulip Winery – an expensive but excellent example.

The first wine to take home the title of Master among the varietal, unoaked samples was priced over £20, proving that paying a relatively high sum for Sauvignon Blanc does have a benefit. As for the wine that gained the ultimate accolade of the Global Wine Masters, it wasn’t from New Zealand, neither was it from South Africa, but Italy’s Alto Adige. Gaining very high scores from all the judges, this wine from Cantina Valle Isarco, a brilliant co-operative in this beautiful region, wowed for its intense, lingering layers of flavours of pear, tangerine and lime, with some lemongrass and chalk too, and a lovely freshness, without the sharpness that can beset Sauvignon Blanc.

However, the justification for high prices for Sauvignon Blanc tends to require more than just a mix of complementary characters derived from fruit and fermentation, but some influence from oak too. Despite a certain scepticism from Sauvignon lovers surrounding the suitability of marrying the sweet and creamy flavours of barrels with the fresh and firm nature of Sauvignon, when the grapes are fully ripe, often from planting in warm climes, or picking late, then the combination is delicious.

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Proving this, and at an impressively low price, was the barrel-matured blend from Domaine du Grand Mayne in south west France, which has the vanilla, pineapple and grapefruit flavours found in great white Bordeaux, but for a little under £15. Others at a similar price that successfully united creamy wood with fresh citrus fruit were from South Africa (Nederburg) and Australia (Nepenthe), while moving up in price we had a first-rate white Bordeaux from Château Doisy Daene, and a pear, tangerine and marshmallow-scented sample from Greece’s Alpha Estate.

The outstanding wines of the day, taking the barrel influence Sauvignon style to new heights, were both from California. In the tauter, fresher mould was Napa Valley’s St Supéry Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, with its orange and cream characters, while the more indulgent example was from Merry Edwards in the Russian River Valley, with a wonderful array of flavours from peach, pear, lime, toast and vanilla to cinnamon. Such a wine was also quite richly textured, but wonderfully bright too.

These latter samples clearly showed that Sauvignon Blanc is no one-trick pony. Depending on source and winemaking technique, supporting varieties and price positioning, Sauvignon Blanc can take on different guises. However, it never seems to lose its refreshing taste, nor citrusy aromatics, ensuring that it maintains its appeal for the Sauvignon lover, even when handled like a Chardonnay.

In other words, if you are a fan of Sauvignon’s cool crisp character, then you should be pleased with the quality on the market today. And if you want to explore the grape’s full stylistic spectrum, then you can do so safe in the knowledge that the medallists in this year’s Masters will deliver new and delicious experiences, without abandoning Sauvignon’s core citrus-fresh trait.

Please see the tables below, which feature all the medallists from this year’s competition.

Unoaked 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Company Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Invivo & Co Invivo Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Invivo & Co Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Ventisquero Reserva Soul of the Andes Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc Chile Chile 2020 Silver
Cramele Recas Regno Recas Sauvignon Blanc Banat Romania 2019 Silver
Cramele Recas Dreambird Sauvignon Blanc Banat Romania 2019 Silver
Jean Biecher & Fils King’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Vistamar Brisa Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Vistamar Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Maule Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Viña Morandé Morandé Pionero Sauvignon Blanc Maule Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Mancura Etnia Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Babich Wines Rongopai Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Alira Flamma Sauvignon Blanc Oltina Romania 2019 Silver
Aldi Ireland Cambalala Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2020 Silver
Aldi Ireland Estevez Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Seewines Colorito Sauvignon Blanc Black Sea Bulgaria 2019 Silver
Yealands Yealands Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Aldi Ireland The Project Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2019 Silver
Aldi Ireland Freeman’s Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Aldi Ireland The Exquisite Collection Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Aldi Ireland Estevez Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley Chile NV Silver
Aldi Ireland Exquisite Collection Leyda Sauvignon Reserva Leyda Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc San Antonio Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Casa Girelli Canaletto Sauvignon Friuli DOC Trentino Italy 2018 Bronze
Viña Morandé Morandé Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 2020 Bronze
7Colores 7Colores Varietal Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley Chile 2020 Bronze
Lionel Osmin & Cie Villa Côte d’Argent South-West France 2019 Bronze
Viña Luis Felipe Edwards Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Valley Chile 2020 Bronze
Alira Alira Sauvignon Blanc Oltina Romania 2019 Bronze
Domaine la Louvière Le Libertin Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Bronze
Barton & Guestier B&G Réserve Sauvignon Blanc Côtes de Gascogne France 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
Yealands Babydoll Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Gold
Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve The Cape Mist Sauvignon Blanc Durbanville South Africa 2018 Gold
Invivo & Co Invivo X, Sarah Jessica Parker Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Kim Crawford Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Babich Wines Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Viña Aresti Trisquel Sauvignon Blanc Curicó Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Doña Paula Winery Doña Paula Estate Sauvignon Blanc Uco Valley Argentina 2019 Silver
Bird In Hand Wines Bird in Hand Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills Australia 2020 Silver
Matahiwi Estate Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc Wairarapa New Zealand 2020 Silver
Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc Colchagua Valley Chile 2019 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards Montford Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Reserve Hillside Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Brancott Estate Terroir Series Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Brancott Estate Letter Series B Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Stoneleigh Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Marisco Vineyards Leefield Station Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The King’s Favour Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Babich Wines Babich Family Estates Organic Marlborough Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Yealands Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Yealands Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Omaka Bay Omaka Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Reserve Seaside Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Bronze
Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Constellation Brands Selaks Premium Selection Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Bronze
Attems Attems Sauvignon Blanc Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Bronze
Santa Helena Santa Helena Gran Reserva Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Yealands The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Bronze
£15-£20
Stoneleigh Organic Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Gold
Nederburg The Winemasters Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2020 Gold
Rimapere Winery Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Kalfu Sumpai Huasco Valley Chile 2018 Silver
Klein Constantia Estate Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2019 Silver
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Spitfire Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Vigna Traverso Sauvignon Blanc DOC Friuli Colli Orientali Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver
Viña Estampa Estampa DelViento Sauvignon Blanc Colchagua Valley Chile 2020 Silver
Viña Luis Felipe Edwards Marea Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Valley Chile 2020 Silver
The Lane Vineyard The Lane Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills Australia 2020 Silver
Ventisquero Grey Huasco Valley Chile 2017 Bronze
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Bronze
Alpha Estate Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc Florina Greece 2019 Bronze
£20-£30
Cantina Valle Isarco Sauvignon Aristos Alto Adige Italy 2019 Master
St Supéry Napa Valley Estate Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley United States 2019 Silver
Fleur Du Cap Fleur Du Cap Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2019 Silver
£30-£50
Tulip Winery Net Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Uper Galilee Israel 2019 Gold

Oaked 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Company Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Vistamar Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Denis Dubourdieu Domaines Château Reynon Bordeaux France 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
Nederburg Private Bin D234 Auction Reserve Western Cape South Africa 2016 Gold
Nepenthe Altitude Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Gold
Babich Wines Black Label Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Viña Carmen Carmen Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
£15-£20
Greystone Wines Greystone Sauvignon Blanc Waipara New Zealand 2019 Gold
Denis Dubourdieu Domaines Château Doisy Daëne Bordeaux France 2019 Gold
Nederburg The Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2018 Gold
Nederburg Two Centuries Sauvignon Blanc Darling South Africa 2016 Gold
Cantina Kurtatsch KOFL Sauvignon DOC Alto Adige Italy 2019 Bronze
£20-£30
Klein Constantia Metis Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2017 Gold
Alpha Estate Ecosystem Sauvignon Blanc Fume Single Block Kaliva Florina Greece 2018 Gold
Klein Constantia Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape South Africa 2017 Silver
Attems Cicinis Attems Friuli Italy 2018 Silver
Terre à Terre Down to Earth Sauvignon Blanc Wrattonbully Australia 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards Craft Series ‘Pride & Glory’ Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2015 Silver
Cantina di Lavis Vich Sauvignon Trentino Italy 2017 Silver
Alpha Estate Ecosystem Sauvignon Blanc Fume Single Block Kaliva Florina Greece 2019 Silver
te Pa Family Vineyards te Pa Oke Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2018 Bronze
£30-£50
St Supéry Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley United States 2019 Master
Terre à Terre Crayères Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Wrattonbully Australia 2019 Gold
Azienda Vinicola Castelfeder Sauvignon Burgum Novum Riserva Bolzano Italy 2017 Silver
£50+
Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley USA 2018 Master

Unoaked blend (minimum 50% Sauvignon Blanc)

Company Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Gold
Elgin Vintners Elgin Vintners Sauvignon Blanc Elgin South Africa 2020 Gold
Stoneleigh Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2020 Silver
Aldi Ireland Vignobles Roussellet Sauvignon Blanc Vin de France France NV Silver
Domaine du Grand Mayne Grand Mayne Sauvignon South West France 2019 Bronze

Oaked blend (minimum 50% Sauvignon Blanc)

Company Name Region Country Vintage Medal
£10-£15
Domaine du Grand Mayne Domaine du Grand Mayne South West France 2017 Gold
£15-£20
Groote Post Vineyards Seasalter Darling South Africa 2020 Silver
£20-£30
La Roncaia La Roncaia Eclisse IGT Venezia Giulia Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy 2018 Gold

About The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from the great vineyards of Europe or lesser-known winemaking areas of the world.

The 2020 competition was judged by David Round MW, Patrick Schmitt MW and Patricia Stefanowicz MW in December at London’s 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Sauvignon Blanc Master. Here, we feature the medal winners only.

Please visit the Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

2 Responses to “The best wines from the Sauvignon Blanc Masters”

  1. Jason Walsh says:

    Patrick Schmitt mentions ‘top performing wines from Israel and Turkey’ yet there’s none listed of the latter.

    Intrigued. Typo?

  2. Patrick Schmitt says:

    Thank you Jason, and apologies, the Eastern Mediterranean nation that showed well in this year’s Sauvignon Blanc Masters was Greece, with Alpha Estate gaining a Gold for its barrel-influenced Sauvignon Blanc called Ecosystem. As for Israel, it was the Tulip winery that picked up a Gold.

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