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Admittedly, it may not be entirely fair to put German Sauvignons in competition with those from South Tyrol and Austria. In Italy's northernmost province, Sauvignon is a long-established guarantor of quality, and in Austria's Styria region it is the leading variety par excellence. The two regions - perhaps still together with Friuli - are the most important challengers to the variety's French home regions: Loire and Bordeaux. Their best wines need fear no comparison.

In Germany, Sauvignon Blanc is currently very fashionable, but it lacks a recognisable profile. This is not surprising, since the Sauvignon cultivation area is spread over almost all wine regions in Germany. Moreover, some producers don't seem to know quite what to do with this potentially high-class but also sensitive variety. Grass-green, unripe screaming necks are just as unlikely to establish Germany as an origin of high-quality Sauvignons as sweetish, sour, everyday wines that are produced in some places from all available grape varieties for the sake of simplicity. Nevertheless, the variety has a chance to move out of its niche. Especially in Württemberg, where most of the Sauvignon pioneers are at home, in the Palatinate and in Rheinhessen, some committed producers are working on real top qualities that show what is possible - especially in view of the growing conditions that are changing with climate change.

ÖWM - Armin Faber

In Austria, Sauvignon is also successfully cultivated almost everywhere, but the epicentre is clearly in Styria, home to some of the greatest Sauvignons ever. Here, a precise, tart, taut and mostly cool style has become predominant; even the powerful varieties are rarely loud, fat or overly aromatic. Despite all the regional, cellar-specific and hierarchical differences, one does have a fairly clear idea of what one can expect from Styrian Sauvignon of the respective quality category in terms of taste. An unbeatable advantage in the huge world of wine.

The situation is similar in South Tyrol, where Sauvignon, together with Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer, belongs to the quartet of prestigious white varieties: There is hardly a producer who does not offer Sauvignon in his top line. The wines here are generally somewhat warmer and higher in alcohol than in Austria or Germany. The taste profile tends more often towards the exotic. Most of the time, the producers manage to keep the alcohol and the aroma in check. Despite their power, many wines have freshness, life, backbone and precision. Nevertheless, the current top Sauvignons from South Tyrol cannot deny the very warm years of 2017 and 2018, which is why they have to leave the top places in this BEST OF to the Styrians, who are far less exposed to the Mediterranean influence. It will be interesting to see what the picture looks like when we repeat the comparison with the 19s next year.

This BEST OF is the essence of around 300 wines tasted in the past months. Links to all the results can be found at the end of each of the best lists.

BEST OF Sauvignon BlancAustria

All wines up to 90 points

BEST OF Sauvignon BlancSouth Tyrol

All wines up to 87 points