Below, a recap of the contenders, the judges' comments, and the final decision.
Contender #3 (The Longshot): King Shag 2007 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, $7.99
The Judges' Comments:
Judge #1 described the Kim Crawford as "better" than the King Shag. The King Shag he deemed "verdant," and the Cooper's Creek impressed him with its "spiciness."
Judge #2 disagreed with his characterization of the Cooper's Creek as spicy; she found it fruity and on the sweet side. The Kim Crawford smelled and tasted "fuller" to her than the others. King Shag, she felt, tasted the "cheapest" and offered a "very green" finish.
Judge #3 (yours truly) also got a green feel from the King Shag, in which she tasted grass. She found the Cooper's Creek to be the lightest of the wines with a hint of green pepper, while the Kim Crawford had a fuller flavor and a syrupy mouthfeel with tropical fruit hints.
All three were delicious (a cop out, I know). Who can decide? I leaned toward the old standby Kim Crawford, but it might be worth it to do a blind tasting next time to see how/if that changes things. Kim Crawford is a great buy at under $15 and it has a good reputation. In fact, during our tasting another friend stopped by and when we offered her a glass of it she said, "Ooooh, I love Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc!" So there you have it.