The other night, a friend told me that she was having dinner with her friend Savvy B. It took me a moment, but then I realized that she meant Sauvignon Blanc, a shape-shifting grape whose juice can be coaxed into offering flavors ranging from grapefruit and freshly cut grass to ripe tropical fruits.

Savvy B. isn’t an outlier. Unlike their red wine cousins, white wine varietals like Chardonnay, Riesling, and Chenin Blanc are happy to take direction from the winemaker and transform themselves into wines that are lean and zippy, rich and round, or somewhere in between.

The trick is not to get stuck thinking that white wine is a delicate flower best served at a ladies’ luncheon. “Drinking white wine is not limited to chicken and fish. It’s a full immersion revealing all the secrets of the heart, that is light, fruity, tart, crisp, aromatic, and expressive,” says Sherrie Lee-McCallum, sommelier at Half Moon, a Salamander Collection resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “The different white wine flavor profiles are a journey for your palate as they are a tour around the world that is elegant, graceful, and full of surprises that move and astonish — just like every sip of Chardonnay sipped with a nice morsel of a juicy steak, hot off the grill!”

Not sure where to start? Here are our top picks for 2024 and beyond.

Frog’s Leap 2022 Sauvignon Blanc Concrete Aged

Courtesy, Frog’s Leap

This Rutherford-based winery has always been among Napa’s most forward-thinking — innovations include California’s first LEED-certified wine building, dry farming, and planting heritage varietals like Charbono and Valdigué. But, for this limited-release Sauvignon Blanc, winemakers aged the wine in egg-shaped concrete vessels, an ancient technique that allows the wine to develop complex flavors without giving up freshness. The resulting wine, savory and mineral-driven with remarkable depth, is a winning partner with oysters or roasted fish. SRP $55

2021 Jordan Chardonnay

Though perhaps best known for its elegant, food-friendly Bordeaux-style Cabernets, Jordan’s opulent Chardonnay is worth more than a look. Like its red counterparts, the wine brings French sensibility to California Chard with balanced oak, lively acidity, and a finish that lingers without overpowering. Winemaker Maggie Kruse has crafted a wine that’s as good with your favorite raw bar picks as it is with creamy pastas and roasted veggies. Or all by itself. SRP $42

Appassionata 2017 GG Riesling

Courtesy,, Appassionata Winery

How well does Erni Loosen know wine? His family has grown grapes and produced wine in Germany’s Mosel Valley for more than 200 years. Thirty years ago, Loosen moved from Germany to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he created the Appassionata Winery as an outlet for his growing interest in Pinot Noir. Respecting his roots — and hundreds of years of collective experience — Loosen also produces a Riesling under the Appassionata label. Bone dry and fragrant, the wine rests on the full lees for two years and is then held in a bottle for three to five years before release. SRP $50

2019 Arkenstone Estate Sauvignon Blanc 

This winery focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc from the Howell Mountain vineyards. This vintage is the latter, made in the Bordeaux style with a bit of Semillon grapes included in the final blend. It’s aged for 11 months in concrete and French oak on the lees. Look for a full-bodied wine with notes of green guava, peaches, and stone and tropical fruits on the palate. SRP $125

Domain Francois Cotat Sancerre Blanc ‘La Grande Côte 2022

Courtesy, Francois Cotat

François Cotat, along with his cousin Pascal, are said to produce some of the best Sancerre wines in the world. This wine comes from Chavignol, where terres blanches — a chalky plateau — produces Sancerre scented with wildflowers, citrus, and smoke, and tasting of poached pear and quince. Voluptuous as it is, the region’s stony minerality shines through, giving the wine remarkable depth and an appealing agility. Try it with Vietnamese dishes or, alternatively, sushi. Price: $125.

2021 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay 

This Chardonnay from Far Niente comes from grapes grown in the Coombsville estate vineyards. According to the winemaker notes, the temperate climate there is supposed to result in tropical flavors, lovely aromas, and a richness that is the trademark of Far Niente’s wines. The 2021 vintage was aged sur lees for ten months in new and used French oak, so look for notes of toasted wood, citrus, herbs, and a healthy dose of green melon on the palate. Price: $73.