Welcome to the second in a series of back to wine basics posts to help put you on the path to wine success! While riesling may be the style of wine most suited for crisp acidity, subtle sweetness, and stone fruits, sauvignon blanc is the greenest of wines. Sauvignon blanc is crisp, and loaded with gooseberrries, deeply green flavors, and a touch of herbaceous / vegetal notes. As sauvignon literally means wild, it isn’t surprising that the wine it produces are powerful, daring, and laced with acidic intensity and at times, a gamey note sometimes referred to as ‘cat pee’ (in a positive way). While new world wines (California, New Zealand, etc) may seek to minimize the herbal characteristics of the wine, Sauvignon Blanc still has plenty of depth to work with to produce a great wine.
Quick Facts on Sauvignon Blanc:
Body: Light to Medium
General Characteristics: High Acidity, Slightly herbal, Green
Notable Regions: California, New Zealand, Liore Valley (France), Chile
In 2011 Starborough Blanc was an amazing Sauvignon Blanc for the price. Can 2014 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc deliver on the promise of new world sauvignon blanc? Or does is require a revisit of fruit forward crisp whites. Green Grass and High Tides
To be perfectly honest, the last few Sauvignon Blanc tastings haven’t gone particularly well. First, the an amazingly vegetal Marlborough turned off almost everyone I had try it. Then the pick for the Wine Back to Basics series wasn’t much better, being a bit more minerally, but still amazingly green. The only bright stop might have been the Starborough, which is something of a tentative recommendation for new comers to wine. With that in mind, this whole Sauvignon Blanc under $10 thing is definitely doable. We’ve done it before last year with Oyster Bay (who has sadly since left the under $10 market *tear*) and Chateau St. Jean, who makes a definitely more alt style with their buttery Fume Blanc.
As Marlborough is considered a world class, and in general New Zealand does amazing Sauvignon Blanc, it seemed worth giving the area one more go. So can 2010 Smart Cookie Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc pass this test with flying colors, or is it just going to be green with envy? Study Hard
Welcome to the second of six tastings for a back to wine basics series. Following riesling in the tasting order is the bright, green, and grassy Sauvignon Blanc. Unlike riesling, Sauvignon Blanc thrives in slightly warmer climates, with the best coming from Bordeaux and Liore in France [as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume], California, and New Zealand. In these locales, Sauvignon Blanc takes on truly fresh flavors, ranging from herbal (evoking thoughts of bell peppers, grass, jalapeño, etc) to fruity (particularly gooseberries, lime, grapefruit, and tropical fruits). While more frequently oaked than riesling, it still is generally not masked by the oaking, remaining bright and fresh, and almost never sweet. It tends to hang between light-medium body on the palate with very high acid and moderate alcohol.
While not as renowned as Marlborough, New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke’s Bay is frequently compared to its near by famous neighbor. Both wines tend to be very good, and bring huge acidity, fresh herbs, and tropical fruit to the party. Can 2010 Stony Bay Sauvignon Blanc prove the varietal and the region to a newcomer? Herbacious
When I bought 2011 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 Kemblefield Sauvignon Blanc, the intention was to compare them, and show the difference between two wines from the same region. Same area, same grape, same style. Even though there was a vintage difference, there couldn’t be many Sauvignon Blancs less alike than these two. With that said, if the Kemblefield is green, leafy, and loaded with veggies, what does 2011 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc bring to the party? Not a veggie
Sometimes, when you open a bottle of wine, and the first smell hits your nose, you just can’t believe the aroma. Other times, you happen to be confused if it was wine you just opened. Such is the curious case of 2010 Kemblefield Sauvignon Blanc. When I opened this wine, I momentarily thought I had ordered a large pot of asparagus. After smelling it, and tasting it, and smelling it, and tasting it, and googling it, and asking twitter, I finally gave up and decided that perhaps, this was just the unintended results of the winemaker. With that full disclosure in mind, I welcome any one else who has an experience with this wine to comment. Not easy being green
It always seems concerning when the grapes for a wine have moved so far from where they were originally grown. While it’s no surprise that Yellow Tail has it’s hands in a lot of pies, it’s always concerning to see things like: 86% Australia – 14% New Zealand. This isn’t exactly a trip right up the road for the grapes, it’s a fairly long plane flight / boat ride.
Qualms aside, and given purely drinking this wine on it’s own wasn’t the end goal, I forged ahead and decided to give it a shot. The result?
Pop The Cork!
If there was a wine that put New Zealand on the world class wine level, it was undoubtedly sauvignon blanc. Crisp, refreshing, and full of gooseberry and tropical fruits, these wines are great partners for seafood, but are they great partners when they’re from the bottom shelf? Cooper’s Creek has put in their two-cents with their 2009 showing.
Pop the Cork!