Folium: interesting dry-grown wines from New Zealand's Marlborough region

Takaki Okada came to New Zealand’s Marlborough region in 2003, and began working with Clos Henri. In 2010, he bought an 8.5 hectare vineyard that had been established by Fromm in the Brancott Valley. He began making his own wines.

Marlborough is quite dry (growing season averages around 340 ml of rain, with 640 ml the [...]

Two lovely biodynamic Sauvignon Blancs: Waterkloof and Churton

Opened this pair. One from South Africa and one from New Zealand. Both biodynamic. Both pretty compelling, and perhaps not what you’d immediately expect from Sauvignon Blanc. This is a variety that can be serious, but doesn’t have to be. It’s almost as if, though, that by putting Sauvignon Blanc on the bottle, you are [...]

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Seminar: classic versus alternative styles

Yesterday I took part in a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc seminar at New Zealand House in London. The aim of the seminar was to compare classic styled Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with newer alternative styles, such as those that are barrel fermented, or fermented using wild yeasts.

My job was to make the case for the classic [...]

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Sauvage 2012

Sauvignon Blanc is a serious grape. Trust me. It gets a bad rap from some wine writers, but it can achieve amazing results. Look at the fab Tscheppe butterfly wine that I recently reviewed, for example. Or the Sauvignons with a difference from New Zealand that were covered here. Now we’re travelling to the Loire, [...]

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015 impresses

I’m a fan of Sauvignon Blanc. I know it’s not very wine geeky, but I really like it. And this is one of the best. I bought a case of the 2014, and it went pretty quickly, which is something that can’t be said for all my case purchases. I find that if you buy [...]

A beautiful South African white: Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2013

This is a brilliant oak aged Sauvignon/Semillon from Duncan Savage at Cape Point. The blend in 2013 is 82% Sauvignon, 18% Semillon and the grapes were all hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed and then the juice settled for 8 hours. Fermentation was with a mix of cultured and wild yeasts, 95% in barrel (half new) and [...]

Older New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: can it age? Should we cellar it?

While I was in New Zealand I got to try quite a few older New Zealand Sauvignons. Of course, most punters want the latest vintage of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and this is really the main point of the style: bright with lovely aromatic interest and a fresh, zippy palate. That’s what made it successful. Young [...]

In New Zealand: Oz Clarke's remarkable paean to Sauvignon Blanc

So, the Sauvignon Blanc conference. Two and a half days focusing on this grape, which New Zealand has made its own. Talks and tastings; dinners and parties. And welcoming Blenheim (above), shy at first, but then opening up to receive a few hundred guests and locals. Two establishments in particular deserve mention: Ritual, for its [...]

Cotat Chavignol La Grande Côte Sancerre 1989 Loire, France

In advance of the Sauvignon Blanc symposium, Mike Weersing of Pyramid Valley opened this oldie for us when we visited. Sauvignon can age! Not always, but Cotat makes Sancerre in an ageworthy style. You might find these wines a little underwhelming in their youth, but give them some time and they can be lovely.

Cotat Chavignol [...]

Brancott Estate Chosen Rows 2013, and a recap on the 2010

Brancott Estate’s Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc is the result of their desire to make a high-end Sauvignon. I’ve been following this since its inception. Back in 2009, then chief winemaker with Montana (which is now Brancott) Jeff Clarke came to London to present a tasting of high-end Sauvignons from around the world, and to tell [...]