Bottle and glass of Babich Sauvignon Blanc (left) and Kono Sauvignon Blanc (right).

Two Great NZ Sauvignon Blancs from Trader Joe’s!

These two wines may look like twins in many respects.  But if so, they are not identical twins.  And even though these fraternal twins have much in common,  it would be difficult to assert that one is “better” than the other.

Fast facts:

  • 2018 Babich Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($8.99 @Trader Joe’s,  California)
  • 2018 Kono Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($8.99 @Trader Joe’s,  California)
Bottle and glass of Babich Sauvignon Blanc (left) and Kono Sauvignon Blanc (right).
Beat the heat with one, or both, of these New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs from Trader Joe’s. $8.99 each, both equally delicious.

Sauvignon Blanc is the flagship varietal of New Zealand.  And Marlborough is the most revered region for this particular grape, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the wine produced there.

Sauvignon Blanc (which means “wild white”) originated in France, where it is also know as Sancerre, Graves and Pouilly-Fumé.  It is one of the world’s most planted grape varieties. 

“Sauv Blanc” always tastes good in my opinion. But it never tastes as good – or as refreshing – as it does when the heat is on.  One look at the weather map of the U.S.A. right now shows that the heat is definitely on.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping for Sauvignon Blanc, this is a wine meant to be consumed when it is young and fresh.  Since these are both from the 2018 vintage, these are about as fresh as you’re going to get.

Two Nice Summer Sippers

When I first poured these two wines into the glass, I was struck by the difference in color.  It suggested that despite all their similarities, they might actually taste different. And they did.

The Babich was a lovely pale straw color.  It had tropical fruit aromas which presented on the palate as well. It also showed off flavors of peach, grapefruit and lemon grass.   It is a softer, fuller and riper style than the Kono.

Being different – and paler in color – doesn’t mean the Kono is in any way inferior.  I actually like it a tad more than the Babich, but that is just personal preference. It has far less of the tropical notes present in the Babich. In their place are assertive flavors of citrus.  It is very crisp and more acidic.

Food Pairings

Both wines would pair well with white meat, cheeses (especially softer cheeses like goat), vegetarian dishes and shellfish of all kinds.  Both paired really well with this summer salad I threw together:

Chicken salad in a bowl.
A summer salad of baby gem lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, pea shoots and grilled chicken.

I liked these two better than the Matua Sauvignon Blanc we reviewed from Costco.  If you’re curious about some of our other recent reviews of Sauvignon Blanc, click on the links below:


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