Skip to main content
newsletter

iStockPhoto / Getty Images

For more wine advice and reviews, recipes, restaurant news and more, sign up to receive our Good Taste newsletter in your inbox every Wednesday.

The bright and zesty styles of sauvignon blanc made in Marlborough and other parts of New Zealand continue to tantalize taste buds around the world. Its dry and distinctive style, offering a mix of herbal and citrus and/or tropical fruit flavours, is appreciated by many consumers in Canada and more than 100 other countries. But no matter how refreshing and reliable these expressive white wines can be, there are always other fruity and unoaked options to explore.

The enduring popularity of New Zealand sauvignon blanc makes this is a common question. My answer revolves around what similar styles of wine are currently available. While I might firmly believe white wines from grüner veltliner or falanghina grapes are suitable substitutes, that information isn’t useful if there aren’t many bottles waiting to be discovered. But do keep an eye out for examples on wine lists or wine shops because I think you’ll enjoy them. Here are some appealing alternatives you’re more likely to encounter when you shop in the coming weeks and months.

Chablis

These stylish chardonnays from the Chablis region in northern France are made in a fresh and crisp style that matches the vibrant, citrusy charge of many popular Marlborough sauvignon blancs. On the nose, it is less complex, with more of a reserved character than the classic Marlborough model, but there’s purity and charm that draws you in. Producers of note: Albert Bichot, Domaine Laroche, Jean-Marc Brocard, La Chablisienne and William Fèvre.

Grenache Blanc Blends (Côtes du Rhone)

On the surface, there’s little connection between Marlborough sauvignon blanc and the richer and riper white blends bottled by producers making Côtes du Rhône wines in France. But I am an avid fan of both and love to share these crowd-pleasing wines whenever possible. Winemakers in the southern Rhône (and further south into Languedoc and Roussillon) work with grape varieties including viognier, roussanne, grenache blanc and marsanne to make balanced and engaging white with captivating aromas and flavours. Producers of note: Château de Nages (Butinages), Chapoutier (Belleruche and Bila-Haut labels in particular), Gabriel Meffre (Laurus), Guigal and Perrin (Réserve and La Vieille Ferme labels).

Moschofilero

If the pungent fragrance of sauvignon blanc is what draws you in, check out this grape variety that’s responsible for dry, aromatic whites from Greece. The best typically come from Mantinia in the Peloponnese and offer a beguiling scent suggesting peach, citrus and floral notes. Sometimes the floral character takes these wines more into gewurztraminer realm, but with more acidity. Producers of note: Boutari, Gaia, Skouras, Troupis (Fteri) and Tselepos.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to The Globe. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Good Taste newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.