jamie goode's wine blog: How to scare the Kiwis

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to scare the Kiwis

I have yet to report on a remarkable tasting I took part in last Friday. It was led by Montana's head winemaker Jeff Clarke, and it was an attempt to discuss what 'icon' level Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc might look like. Montana are midway through a project, aided by top wine scientist Denis Dubourdieu, to work out where they are going with development of a high-end Sauvignon.

A small group, including Julia Harding, Oz Clarke, Stephen Spurrier, Quentin Johnson, Jane Parkinson, Robert Joseph and myself tasted 24 high-end Sauvignons from around the world, blind.

I won't spill the beans yet - this is something I want to write up in detail - but it was a really interesting tasting. There was quite a divergence of opinion among us as we discussed the wines. For example, one South African that was just a blast of methoxypyrazine was disliked by me, but loved by Stephen Spurrier. This was just one example of many where experienced tasters disagreed about what made for top-notch Sauvignon.

Oz Clarke bought along Vina Leyda's Garuma Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Chile's Leyda Valley, and this was slipped into a flight of Sancerres. It looked really good, so much so that the following day I bought a bottle of the 2007 in Waitrose to try at home. This is an impressive effort, and if I was a Kiwi I'd be concerned: it's real competition to Marlborough.

Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard 2007 Leyda, Chile
Pretty serious. Lovely fresh grapefruit and lime nose with some fresh grassy notes. The palate is concentrated, limey and mineralic with some lovely crisp, taut fruit. Lively and expressive. 90/100 (8.99 Waitrose)

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10 Comments:

At 1:03 AM, Blogger Martin said...

I have just finished reading Andrew Jefford's blog where he is also discussing high end or 'icon' wines. He is pretty insistant that top wines must be food orientated. To me this changes the flavor and importantly, the texture of wine. Do you think Montana should be doing this tasting with food if they really want icon status rather then just a "wow" factor at tastings? How would this change your ratings (if at all)? And what is Oz playing at sneaking an modern pow style into the Sancerre section?

 
At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What is Oz playing at?"

What's the problem? This kind of thing happens all the time, sneaking in a rogue bottle, just to see what others think.

 
At 7:06 AM, Blogger Tim said...

I'd like to try this Leyda wine. Most under 10 Chilean Sauvignon Blancs I've tried have been grim. I'll look for it in my Waitrose...

Tim

 
At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JAMIE - did you try Dog's Point? it is better and much cheaper than Cloudy Bay? For my money it is the very best 10 Sauvignon in the world. - Do you know it?

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Mark Temple said...

The Garuma is good stuff, better than Dog Point IMO. TWS do it too, I think. I agree that NZ should be somewhat worried.

 
At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where does one get Garuma from in the UK and how much does it cost?

 
At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha - ha - oh I see it now - waitrose.

 
At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two Dogpoint Sauvignons: a regular cuvee and much more complex and evolved Section 94. One is just under 10, the other well above...

 
At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES - I know the Section 94 - it is slightly oaked and is in fact excellent. In my humble opinion it is far better than the Cloudy Bay To Koko (Which is heavily oaked).

- Where can you find Doggy Point for just under 10 ?? - that is a VERY good price!!!!

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger jjoak said...

It just goes to show you about the SB.. its just like food, some people love asparagus, others hate it. So it makes total sense that different people disagree about wine(you and Spurrier in this case). What I don't think is up for discussion with experienced tasters is weather or not a wine is of high or low quality. One can hate a wine and still acknowledge that it is well made or of good quality. for instance I Love linear zinfandels, like Ridge, but do not like overblown oaky ones, Like many Rosenblum wines. My girlfriend prefers the big wine,,, however I can understand that for what they are, they are extremely well made and excellent. I just don't want to drink what I basically consider unfortified port that is pretending to be table wine. She does. That is what makes the world a great place. However, an experienced taster can tell if a wine such as 2 buck Chuck (an American Brand), is industrial junk or real wine...

 

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