Seven Sauvignon Blancs

"... Sauvignon Blanc is such an interesting grape, and here are seven rather different interpretations of it, from six different wine regions ..."

available in Ontario after March 18, 2017

Sauvignon Blanc can be such an interesting grape. Here are seven rather different interpretations of it, from six different wine regions.

Arguably its two classical expressions are French — from the eastern Loire, particularly Sancerre, as well as from Bordeaux, where Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Sémillon. But over the last twenty years or more, most wine lovers would also add Marlborough, New Zealand as a third classical expression — not classic in an historical sense, but certainly classic in that it has become a very well-defined style or type. The first three wines are good representations of these three styles, and I have rated them all at 90 points: a very good Sancerre from Jean-Max Roger, a barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc blend from the Sauternes producer Château Guiraud, and then an interesting barrel fermented Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from Spy Valley.

The fourth wine is another Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, this one fermented in stainless steel, and so perhaps a more mainstream representative of the style. The fifth wine takes us back to north-eastern France, but this time to Saint-Bris near Chablis. The final two wines take us to two other new world regions, with a South African expression from Rustenberg, and Robert Mondavi’s well-known Fumé Blanc from Napa Valley.

Exercise for the reader: compare, contrast and enjoy!



Vintages #189126 • $27.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
Jean-Max Roger continues to deliver excellent Sancerre, and the Cuvée Genèse (formerly Cuvée "G.C.") comes from the stony clay-limestone Caillottes soils near the village of Bué. The wine is light straw-yellow. The nose is fairly neutral, with lemon-lime and green apple fruit at the centre, a faint grass and herbal edge, and chalky wet-stone minerality underlying it all. Vivid acidity reinforces that the wine is bone-dry, despite a little generosity from the 2015 vintage that just pulls the wine back from austerity. Slim, elegant and direct.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #488585 • $27.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
Chateau Guiraud is a fine producer of Sauternes, and this dry Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc, with about 30% Sémillon, is from the estate vineyard located within the commune of Sauternes. The wine is bright yellow. The nose is lightly grassy and earthy, with a hint of cedary resin, followed by aromas of tart green apple, lemon, honeydew melon and pear. It is bone-dry, with brisk acidity and a medium body. I love the intense, concentrated flavours, as the grassy notes recede and the fruit comes to the fore. And while malolactic conversion has been blocked, keeping the acids sharp and malic, the palate is softened by regular lees stirring over the first three to four months of barrel aging. Lovely depth and breadth — a serious Bordeaux Blanc at a very competitive price.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • VINTAGES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


SPY VALLEY ENVOY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Johnson Vineyard, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island

Vintages #429308 • $29.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
This premium New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc certainly takes some inspiration from Bordeaux. It starts with the fact that the vines are Bordeaux clones of Sauvignon Blanc, and continues with the fact that the wine is barrel fermented and aged. It is medium straw in colour, with a slightly reductive nose, and an earthy-vegetal tone underlying lemon and apple fruit. But it's the palate where the wine shows its identity. Firm acidity balances slightly elevated alcohol and a rich, weighty texture. While there is a little more fruit on the palate — grapefruit, melon, and perhaps even a note of pineapple — it's really about the earthy and savoury undercurrents. By no means mainstream Marlborough, but enticing and nuanced.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island

Vintages #225557 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
The wine is pale straw in colour. Core fruit aromas of bright lemon and grapefruit, with white flowers, are edged by light vegetal and grassy notes and an underlying wet-stone minerality. Vivid acidity drives the palate, diminishing the grassy notes and enhancing the crisp fruit, adding green apple and honeydew, and drying into a crisp, stony finish. Lots of life and complexity, elegant but still mainstream Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. A fine value.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • THE KOLONAKI GROUP INC (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #626523 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
This Sauvignon Blanc is from Saint-Bris, just south-west of Chablis. The wine is a lighter straw in colour, with pleasant notes of white flowers, lemon-lime, green apple and wet stones on the nose. It is dry, with bright acidity, moderate alcohol, and a lively, crisp citrus, apple and mineral palate. While the warm 2015 vintage in Burgundy has ripened out almost any sense of herbal-vegetal green, the end result is still fresh and enticing. A very good Sauvignon Blanc
Tasted 3/3/2017 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #456020 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
The wine is pale straw, with light lemon-lime, green apple and melon notes, and a hint of grass and green herbs. The palate is bright and more intense, with brisk acidity, a creamy texture that imparts a sense of richness, well-defined but not exuberant fruit, a subtle and almost earthy depth, and lingering stony minerality on the finish. This wine isn't trying to be New Zealand, and it isn't trying to be the Loire — perhaps it's just trying to be Stellenbosch, and that's an excellent thing! A best buy.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #221887 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
This is a benchmark California Sauvignon Blanc, mostly barrel fermented, and aged for five months in oak barriques. It is very pale straw in colour, with a nose suggesting white flowers, lemons, yellow apples, and a light nuance of cedary wood. Acidity is firm, alcohol is somewhat elevated, and the palate is slightly creamy, reflecting the lees stirring regime. Most of the herbal and grassy elements of Sauvignon have been ripened away, leaving just a little earthiness and depth. Overall very good.
Tasted 3/3/2017 • CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


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