Sauvignon Blanc: comparing good examples from the Loire and New Zealand

 

Awareness days. There are just so many of them. Sauvignon Blanc Day is 3rd of May. Whatever you think about these awareness days for grape varieties, this was an excuse to hold – somewhat in advance – a unique tasting that brought together two big players in the Sauvignon game: New Zealand and the Loire. With a really cool crowd including some of the leading UK wine journalists, we tasted 12 wines blind. These are my notes, although as one of the presenters, I wasn’t tasting blind.

This was the first time that New Zealand and the two Loire trade bodies (the Centre Loire has a separate one) have collaborated like this and it made for a really good event. More than once New Zealand and the Loire were confused by the tasters. The wines were presented in pairs around a theme.

Great Value

Villa Maria Private Bin 2018 Marlborough, New Zealand
Light, pure, balanced and expressive with subtle elderflower, hints of passionfruit and a keen lemony core. Bright and quite typical, in a lean, precise mould. Not a shouty wine, but delivers lovely Sauvignon character from a tricky year, with good acidity. 89/100

Patricia and Bruno Denis Domaine de La Renaudie Touraine Sauvignon 2018 Loire, France
This is quite fruity and expressive with pear and peach notes as well as bright citrus fruit. Generous and very fruity with more depth than you might expect. A really delicious fruit forward style, with a soft texture. 89/100

Award winning

Cause and Effect Barrique Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
This comes from the Wairau Bar. Tight, citrussy, bright and linear, with keen acidity and nice precision. Grapefruit and lemon with some nice spicy hints. Expressive finish with a lovely lemony finish. There’s a bit of smoky oak lurking in the background but it integrates well, and there’s amazing brightness to this wine, although it’s a bit angular and reductive right now. 90/100

Domaine Delobel Potentielle Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee Exceptional Touraine 2017 Loire, France
Lovely exotic grapefruit and passionfruit notes here: this has sweet fruit and nice intensity: a bold, quite exotic wine with nice green hints and a fine mineral core. Powerful flavours. 92/100

Pioneer

Brancott Estate The Chosen Rows 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
Powerful and expressive with grapefruit and quince notes, and lovely acidity. Intensely flavoured with some bold, rich fruit character and a coiled up mineral dimension under the fruit. Developing beautifully, this is an exciting wine. It’s ripe but fresh, and has effortless power. 94/100

Denis Jamain Les Fossiles Reuilly 2018 Loire, France
Pure, linear, stony and mineral with keen acidity and bright citrus fruit. Refined and quite pure with grapefruit and a bit of pithiness. Very stylish showing an elegant, linear expression of this variety. 92/100

Terroir

Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Intense and expressive with bright, ripe citrus and pear fruit. Subtle grassy notes and nice expressive grapefruit brightness, with a nice acid core. Lovely texture here: this wine has a bright future ahead of it. Refined and quite mineral, and with more than a hint of Loire about it, rather than the Marlborough exotics. 93/100

Henri Bourgeois Cote des Monts Damnés Sancerre 2017 Loire, France
Mineral and expressive with nice citrus and pear fruit, with lovely aromatics. Just a trace of green with some fruit concentration: there’s a fine mineral streak with good acidity. So linear and refined with lovely acidity and precision. 94/100

Innovation

Greywacke Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Powerful, complex and expressive with a very subtle creamy undercurrent to the bold pear and green apple fruit, with a nice citrus flourish on the finish. Rounded and textural with some exotic fruit characters as well as a mineral core. Lovely wine with a long, tapering finish. 93/100

Domaine Joel Delauney Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Compact with lovely expressive passionfruit, citrus and pear fruit. This has lovely purity and balance with real precision to the flavour. Lovely balance to this wine, which demonstrates the light, aromatic, pretty side of Sauvignon. 92/100

Off the beaten track

Domaine Pre Baron Touraine Sauvignon Blanc L’Elegante Vieilles Vignes 2017 Loire, France
There’s some richness here with pear and melon, as well as some dried citrus fruit notes. Has a hint of honey and nuts with a lovely mineral core. Such lovely weight and concentration. 93/100

Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Linear and refined with lovely pear and citrus, as well as some grapefruit and well integrated oak. A serious, textural Sauvignon with lovely weight and power, finishing bright with good acidity. So refined. 93/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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