The World’s Most Wanted Sauvignon Blancs


Our search for the world’s most poular wines continues with a look at a hugely popular white.

The Kiwi classic retains its spot in the top three for a third year in a row.

© Cloudy Bay
| The Kiwi classic retains its spot in the top three for a third year in a row.

Sauvignon Blanc is the grape that everyone wants, but getting hold of it can be another story.

While Champagne has seen a notable shortage over the past six months or so, the vast oceans of Sauvignon Blanc swilling around on retail shelves would suggest that it has had no such problems, but that’s not entirely true. There have been shortages in key areas.

New Zealand – and particularly Marlborough – was struck by a much smaller harvest than usual (almost 20 percent smaller than the previous vintage), which was unfortunate as it coincided with a massive upsurge in international demand for New Zealand wine. The smaller harvest meant wineries emptying their cellars to meet the demand and that leaves perilously little in reserve for this year.

Thankfully, the 2022 harvest has begun and the signs are that it will be larger than last year – although weather could still have a say in the total cropping level.

Meanwhile, France has its own issues, with supply chain problems making it difficult to get wines to market and the 2021 harvest was one of the lowest on record, meaning the top wines – the ones everyone wants – will be harder to source in the next couple of years.

Interestingly, the tussle between France and New Zealand for Sauvignon supremacy is switching back in favor of the southern producers. Search data reveals that, while Sauvignon Blanc searches generally were nudging upwards, Marlborough was increasing its share of searches faster than the Loire.

That’s reflected in the broader list of the top 50 most searched-for Sauvignons; Kiwi wines account for 24 of them, while the French supply 19.

Let’s see what’s happening in the top 10.

The World’s Most Wanted Sauvignon Blancs on Wine-Searcher:

Last year, this list contained just three New Zealand wines, down from five the year before. This time round, the Kiwis have regained one of their spots, with Allan Scott and Kim Crawford muscling Dog Point out of the top 10.

France maintains its five spots on the list, albeit with de Ladoucette’s Baron de L replacing Domaine Vacheron Sancerre.

Otherwise, the list is pretty consistent. The average scores have slipped slightly, given the two newcomers’ relatively lower points tallies, but it’s still pretty consistent at 91.1 this year against last year’s 91.6.

What’s a little less consistent is pricing. While most of the wines on here are not outlandishly priced, some really are and a couple deserve mention. Screaming Eagle, of course, stands out by virtue of its ludicrous price tag, but it’s actually getting cheaper. Last year, its global average price per bottle was $6875, but since peaking at $7180 in June last year, it has crept back to sit at $6212, a fall of 9 percent since we last ran this list.

At the other end of the scale, the Vatan Clos la Neore is heading in the opposite direction. Last May, this wine had a global average retail price of $303, while it currently sits at $550 a bottle, a price hike of 81 percent, and one that puts it above some very well-known and well-regarded First Growth Bordeaux.

While Sauvignon Blanc still represents excellent value for money, the top end is playing hard to get in another way entirely.

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