When you think it’s over
After a summer of sauvignon blanc samples from the 2016 vintage arriving almost daily from late September onwards, and many reviews already written and published, just as I think it’s all over I find a heap more.
It’s no secret that sauvignon blanc is not my favourite grape, especially SB from New Zealand. Though I adore Sancerre and Menetou-Salon, as well as the quirky Sauvignon Saint-Bris, technically in the Burgundy AOC, but an isolated region south-west of Chablis.
I can and do enjoy some Australian sauvignon blancs, but not to the extent that I seek them out. Despite SB’s dominance of wine lists I look elsewhere for personal consumption.
Looking at the scores post tasting, I note they are 91 to 94 points, most at 93. This shows an adequate sameness to the wines. Perhaps that is why SB is so popular: it doesn’t challenge the drinker, and its crispness is considered sophisticated.
All wines tasted March 2017.
Tamana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016: This has all the qualities that devotees of New Zealand sauvignon blanc look for: an aroma that rockets up the nasal passage and hammers the inside of the forehead, a taste that is skinny and mean and rips through the palate like barbed wire across the genitals, and an aftertaste the description of which is unprintable. Despite my views on the NZ style, it has millions of worshipping followers. It is what it is, and the faithful love it. 91 points and it has a lot of competition at $25.
Hex & Heysen Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2015: A broad nose of fresh picked peas and hay. It’s also broad in taste, with some interesting flavours unfolding as it travels. 93 points and top of an acceptable price range at $27.
Hesketh Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Cut grass SB nose and tight in the mouth. It leans towards the NZ style, but is not as aggressive. It will have its followers. 92 points and there are lots of SB wines around at $18 or less.
Claymore ‘Purple Rain’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Gentle on the nose: fresh greens came to mind. Flavours spread wide across the palate. Pleasing but not outstanding. 93 points and $20 is about the going price.
Fox Gordon ‘Sassy’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016: SB on the nose, yes, but lively, fruity and enjoyable. There’s plenty going on across the palate, with flavours zipping around. A good wine. 93 and worth $19.
Fox Gordon ‘Brothers & Sisters’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016: A slight richness to the nose, like a tiny drop of honey, somehow crept in. Also richer than most SB and more interesting. 94 points but top-end price at $30.
Pertaringa ‘Scarecrow’ Adelaide Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Both nose and palate carry grapefruit hints. I found them attractive. Also the texture is richer than most SB. Pleasant if not overexciting. 92 points and a fair price at $22.
Howard Park ‘Margaret River’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Lively nose without being aggressive. A pleasing journey across the palate with classic hints of gooseberry. 93 points and top of the SB price scale at $31.
Chalice Bridge ‘The Estate’ Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Defined SB nose and good textural style. It offers just a little more in the mouth, lifting the flavour profile a notch higher, or put another way, adding another dimension. 93 points and worth its $25.
Plantagenet ’Three Lions’ Great Southern Sauvignon Blanc 2016: Clean, crisp, well balanced, good SB. 93 points and the right price at $23.