A Review of 2018 Gnarly Head Sauvignon Blanc

We have long been fond of Gnarly Head’s wine venture near Lodi, California. Gnarly Head’s Old Vine Zinfandel has been a consistent favorite of ours over the years. It is always easy on the tongue and a bargain price for the taste. But we haven’t ventured out to taste their other varietals until now. We decided to start with the 2018 Gnarly Head Sauvignon Blanc, which runs a little over $10 a bottle in our local wine store.

This is the wine we chose to pair with our Mesquite BBQ Chicken Salad with Red Grape and Sliced Almonds. (That recipe will be posted tomorrow.)

California Sauvignon Blanc

First let me say, we expected a lot. In addition to our admiration for Gnarly Head’s Old Vine Zin, we had read some excellent reviews of their Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, Wilfred Wong, a wine critic for Wine.com, rated Gnarly Head’s 2018 Sauvignon Blanc a 91. So that got our attention. Any wine hovering about $10 a bottle that rates above a 90 is a wine to take note of.

And one of our local wine merchants rated it highly as well. They named it one of their Primo Picks.

But all the build up aside, we unfortunately cannot say it lived up to the hype. We were not impressed. In fact, we were sorely disappointed.

Here may be part of the reason.

On Gnarly Head’s website, they describe this wine as having bright aromas of gooseberry, green guava, pineapple, with some lingering grassy notes. In Wong’s review he says it is filled with dried citrus, savory spices, and earth. And our local wine merchant describes it as having lime, apple, chalk, and Anjou pear.



And therein is the problem.

Were the barrels inconsistent? Or was the final taste just too nondescript for even seasoned wine professionals to identify?

Regardless, nondescript means there just isn’t a lot of taste to taste. “There’s just no there there,” as some might say. And that makes for an unfortunately forgettable wine. That is exactly how we would describe the 2018 Gnarly Head Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not bad. It’s just forgettable.

To our palettes, we found the citrus. But it came off more as bitter orange with a little dried green apple followed by grass. But faint. Faint everything Very difficult to discern. We did kinda get the chalk in the finish. And again, it definitely is not a bad wine. It is a fully drinkable wine. But there are so many other wines at this price point that are so much more complex and inviting. This one simply does not hold up.

After the first glass, we made wine coolers out of it. They were really good wine coolers! But I can’t say that using a wine for wine coolers is usually a raving endorsement for a wine.

How Wilfred Wong rated this a 91 is a mystery.

But to soften the blow I will share our not-so-mysterious recipe for Sauvignon Blanc wine coolers. In fact, we liked it so much, we dubbed it our Kick-Ass Wine Cooler. It’s a great recipe to have on hand any time you may open a bottle that leaves you, well, less than ecstatic.


You can find 2018 Gnarly Head Sauvignon Blanc at your local wine store. Feel free to taste and tell us you think we are wrong. We invite your comments!

And, of course if you find you agree, you always have our Kick-Ass Wine Cooler recipe for backup.


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