March 14, 2010

On Sauvingon Blanc and Villa Maria’s Cellar Selection Sauvignon

By In Wine Notes

There is an issue with Sauvignon Blanc. When it’s cheap, it’s nasty, rough, acidic and one dimensional. Even modest examples can lack complexity and a layering of flavour that should be there to tamper the inbuilt high acidity. Wine makers can rely on rounding it out with the addition of Semillon of course (i.e. Bordeaux) or call on the terrior providing a level of minerality to supply interest (i.e. Loire). But it is easy to tire of wines that give a little more than an acidity punch lined with gooseberries or a green grassiness. New Zealand has built its reputation on stunning Sauvingons vibrantly punchy with gooseberry and asparagus but even from here you can find wines lacking in body and texture (wines that needs a brave man to drink down the throat rasping juice!).

Last week the good wine folks on twitter indulged with a day of tastings and discussions on Sauvignon Blanc. The tag to read through is #sauvblanc. My plan was to tweet this Villa Maria offering in conjunction with the ‘event’; but being run and dominated by Americans it didn’t kick off until way past my bedtime and anyway a few friends dragged me out to the pub with the evening ended with a Chinese takeaway and laughing at the ridiculous pap put out by various TV stations of an evening…

I did sample a Sauvignon while out (in our drinking hole of choice, the Old Post Office) and had planned to sample a sauvignon with some goats cheese. The tweets were limited to:

#sauvblanc in old Post Office Wallingford Riscal lovely honeyed acidity minerality to fore, quite full so different from a kiwi version
Then #sauvblanc ooooh baked pineapple

And discovering the pre-purchased Pouilly Fume – pont du milieu pouilly fume 08 dosent go with chinese takeaway #sauvblanc
In regards to food matching the classic pairing of Sauvignon is with goats cheese, rather than a mixed plate of Cantonese take-away. Try topping cut rounds of thick walnut bread, topped with goats cheese and walnuts, warmed though in the oven, and served with slices of pear and lambs lettuce. Drizzle the dish with walnut oil. Paired with the Villa Maria Sauvignon this made for a stonkingly good lunch (equally it would be a classy starter).

Wine Tasting Note: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand.

Stockist: Majestic and Tesco Price: £9.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]

Pushy grapefruit acidity – passion fruit – lime – straw – herbaceous – herby edge – weighty palate – punchy – crisp – mouth watering – green beans – juicy. Alcohol 13.5%.

Scribblings Rating – 92/100 [4 out of 5]

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Top :: Comments

  1. Giles April 6, 2010

    I’ve just returned from NZ and had lunch at the Villa Maria facility outside Auckland’s airport the day I flew back. They now produce very nice single vineyard Marlborough savs, the best of which is the Southern Clays. We also enjoyed a bottle of their single vineyard verdelho – very punchy and I see a great future for this wine as the vines get older.
    Some people can be a bit dismissive of Villa Maria because of their supermarket presence and volume (and more justifiably their horrendous rebranding of the Esk Valley label), but their top stuff is among NZ’s finest wines.

  2. wine_scribbler April 6, 2010

    Lets hope we get to see some of them over here in the UK! The Verdelho sounds very interesting; had a rather decent example from Australia the other day…

  3. Jim the Garage Door Guy April 9, 2010

    My wife and I became biased towards Californian wines after our lovely honeymoon in Napa Valley two summers back. We tend to favor the sweeter wines like White Merlot or Rieslings specifically because of the issue you mentioned, the Sauvignons we’ve tried just don’t taste good. But I’ll consider swinging by the NZ section next time I’m at the store, you might help us get over our bias. Maybe we need to just go to NZ like Giles. Cheers!


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