Each month we showcase wines other than Sauvignon Blanc and I suppose there would be some out there in Wineland that suspect I don’t like this wine style and nothing could be further from the truth. I enjoy a nice Sauvignon Blanc whether from New Zealand or even Australia, and it may come as a surprise but we make a good version of the wine style. The reason for me suggesting an alternative is simply that there are wines out there that are as good if not better when enjoying a glass of wine with a meal, however if drinking a white wine on a hot summers day without food Sauvignon Blanc is a terrific choice but to be fair the wines don’t age well and are drink straight away styles. As a food match, it pairs well with oysters natural, delicate white fish and goats cheese depending on which style you prefer.
The other problem I have with Sauvignon Blanc is whilst there is a choice ranging from $7 up to $50 or more there is a range that is priced between $10 to $30 and quite frankly the difference in flavour in many cases doesn’t justify the price difference and that’s where I find Sauvignon Blanc almost boring it is a pretty one dimensional drop. Liquorland promote Wahoo at $7 and it is very good value but I tend to think it is more of a classic dry white style, they also sell a wine called Storey Bay which is a Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River which is also great value for money.
Every couple of months Liquorland promote a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc called Rapaura Springs and on special this is either $9 or $10 which is around half price, this is a terrific wine for this price. They also sell a premium version which occasionally comes down to around $14 but unless you have a winemakers or wine judges palate the cheaper version is pretty good. Over at Woolworths, they have mountains of Sauvignon Blanc’s exclusive to their group of Dan Murphy’s and BWS, in fact, they list 408 of them so there are plenty to choose from.
Remember that Woolworths own two vineyards one in South Australia the other in New Zealand and employ their own winemakers so a lot of their cheaper range will be made by themselves, if you are not too sure look for Pinnacle Drinks on the back label and that is exclusive to them, with Coles look for James Busby but they buy all their wines from producers. Under $10 Woolworths do a swag of wines, Amiri, Silver Moki, Seven Degrees, Rata, Tangoroa, and Koa Cove, which quite frankly are all like Wahoo from Liquorland, but lately they have promoted Boatshed Bay at $10 and $11 which is good value.
They also have a members only price at the moment with Withers Hills at $11 which is half price and a good buy. As I mentioned there are some very good Australian Sauvignon Blanc’s which whilst they do not have the same in your face aroma which distinguishes the New Zealand style they are outstanding dry white wines (I had a lady rep. once who was one of the first women reps in the liquor industry.
When asked what wine she wanted it was always a “dray wait wane”!) Anyway The Adelaide Hills produce some fine examples including Wicks Estate which is outstanding and others to look for are Bridgewater Mill and Nepenthe and another country making very good Sauvignon Blanc is Chile so why not try something different for a change. Sauvignon Blanc originates from France and is an indigenous grape to the South West of the country and whilst it makes dry white wines in almost every country around the globe it is also a famous component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes and Barsac.
Apart from France the grape variety is now widely cultivated in Chile, South Africa, Canada, The United States, other regions of Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand and in some regions especially California it is labelled as “Fume Blanc” a marketing term coined by the famous winemaker Robert Mondavi in reference to Pouilly-Franc, though many had thought as the wine had been stored in oak barrels for a while it tended to have a slightly smoky aroma, though almost all the Sauvignon Blanc’s produced in Australia and New Zealand are fermented in stainless steel tanks some winemakers are playing around with oak barrels to come up with an alternative style.
Recently one of the world’s top wine critics, James Suckling, published the best 100 budget-friendly wines under $30, which was compiled from a list of 22,000 wines. Australia had 10 wines in this list and they are
- S.C. Pannell Grenache Shiraz McLaren Vale 2016 (covered in the last edition of the Islander)
- Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay Yarra Valley 2017
- Shaw and Smith Shiraz Adelaide Hills 2015
- Head Wines Shiraz (“The Blond”)
- Barossa Valley 2016
- Yalumba Grenache (Vine Vale)
- Barossa Valley 2016
- Pewsey Vale Riesling Eden Valley 2017 (an old favourite of mine and another from Yalumba)
- Leeuwin Estate Sauvignon Blanc (Art Series)
- Margaret River 2017
- Vasse Felix Chardonnay (Filius)
- Margaret River 2016 Best’s Shiraz (No.1)
- Great Western 2016 (always a great wine especially The Bin 0)
- Giant Steps Chardonnay Yarra Valley 2017
You will note Chardonnay 3 Sauvignon Blanc 1 what more can I say! A judge with a good palate me thinks and something different for you to try. Cheers, Philip Arlidge [email protected]
“In wine there’s truth” (Isn’t that the truth) Pliny the Elder, Natural History “High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water, but everybody likes water” Mark Twain