Spring is the start of sauvignon sippin' season, and the crispy, lean interpretations inspired by the Loire (versus a New Zealand grapefruit bomb) are usually where I begin. Sancerre is my favorite interpretation of the grape, especially with raw oysters. But these usually run in the mid-$20s. For a great Loire value, try a $14.99 bottle of Domaine de Montbenoit from Giennois, a "little brother" appelation to Sancerre that grows nearby in limestone and flint soils with a bit more chalk, which lends a hint more body to a wine that's still bright with lemon and floral notes. For a New World rendition, try Dry Creek Vineyard's Fumé Blanc, which in 1972 became the first sauvignon planted in Dry Creek Valley. It's still refreshingly Loire-ish – ringing with citrus and mineral acidity with an almost effervescent lemongrass finish – a tremendous buy on sale for $11.99 until June 1.
- Craig LaBan
Domaine de Montbenoit Blanc Coteaux du Giennois 2012, $14.99 (code 31978); Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc on sale in Pa. (code 5626) for $11.99 (from $14.99.)