I am quite amazed by how good the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc is. You’ll probably be amazed by how amazed I was, so from the outset, I’ll answer some questions that some of you may be thinking.
This was a bottle bought off the shelf last week in Tesco (it was just £6.99, so I thought it would be good to have a first look at the new vintage, after having reviewed the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 so favourably recently).
- I drank it over three nights, so this is a carefully considered verdict.
- I’m not a complete idiot, and I have tasted quite a lot of Sauvignon in my lifetime – it’s one of my specialities.
- I don’t have any commercial ties to Brancott (or parent company Pernod Ricard). I don’t do gigs for them, I don’t get paid to present their wines at masterclasses, I don’t have them sponsor my roadshows events via pay to play, and so on. [Although I did travel to New Zealand with Pernod Ricard back in October 2011.] It’s a mighty convenient narrative to be plugging the small companies with no marketing budgets, but when the big guys do well, that’s good for everyone, and should be recognized.
- So now, the wine. It’s just beautifully balanced with the loveliest aromatics, and at £6 is one of the wine world’s great bargains. This is New Zealand Sauvignon come of age: no heaviness, no clumsiness, no jarring sweetness to offset out of control acidity. You should probably try some, if you like New Zealand Sauvignon at all. And I do.
But if it’s this lovely aromatic profile that you like (as I do), then this is a wine to buy now and consume young. There’s a group of aromatic molecules called polyfunctional thiols, that are responsible for part of the Sauvignon aroma, and research has shown that on average, Marlborough Sauvignon has very high levels. Two of these molecules are closely related, 3MH and 3MHA. It’s the 3MHA in particular that gives the lovely passionfruit and grapefruit aromatic lift, but over time this hydrolyses into 3MH. The rate of this chemical change is determined by temperature, so it’s important that the wine is stored and shipped at as low a temperature as possible if this character is to be retained.
Brancott have a detailed understanding of the role of these polyfunctional thiols in Sauvignon through research they have taken part in. And they seem to be putting this knowledge to good use, making lovely wines like these at good prices and in large quantities.
Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough, New Zealand
13% alcohol. Really crisp, pure and bright with lovely grapefruit and passionfruit characters. There’s a real crispness and freshness here with lovely focus and brightness. It just shows enticing aromatics and brilliant balance, and is benchmark Marlborough Sauvignon. 92/100