I Love Fine Wine - A Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Published: 26th June 2015
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If you know anything about Sauvignon Blanc wines you know that they are New Zealand's star offering. Many people know that the Marlborough region in the northeastern corner of the south island is the country's most famous wine region. Can you guess what is its star grape? Believe it or not, the first vines were planted here in 1973. The winery is proud of its free draining, silty, clay, loamy soil, and the low cropping, hand-harvested grapes that are helped along by some two thousand sheep. I always thought it was better not to fertilize wine grapes. The companion wine is a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc at half the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012 13.5 % alcohol about $16.

Let's start by quoting the marketing materials "Tasting Note: If you buy no other 2012 New Zealand sauvignon currently on the shelves, don't miss Dog Point. There's a consummately crafted dimension to this wine that propels it above the vast sea of sauvignon, a wine of genuine character and interest. A one-fifth portion of wild ferment and lees ageing instils a mineral mouth feel and complexing nuances of struck flint. Carefully regulated yields have produced an impeccably gauged fruit profile that tactically dodges the extremes of underripe herbaceousness and overripe passionfruit, falling neatly into the middle ground of grapefruit, lemon zest, guava and golden delicious apple. A focused acid line and outstanding, lingering, textural persistence make not only for immediate appeal but promise medium-term potential. Drink 2012-2019. Score - 95. (Tyson Stelzer, at his web site Undated)." And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine offered good acidity but had that characteristic peapod taste that I sometimes get in New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. When the juice accompanied Matzo ball soup the pea pod taste increased as the acidity rounded. I spiced up the soup with lots of Yemeni green jalapeno sauce but those pea pods continued to dominate. The initial meal focused on a barbecued chicken. Can you guess how the libation responded, I'll give you a hint. It was excessive. But I did note round acidity. Zesty guacamole gave our SB good oak, good acidity, and bad you know what. Fresh raspberries for dessert fairly muted Whitey; but the wine was still sufficiently present and offered good sweetness and acidity.

The second meal kicked off with Japanese rice crackers that somewhat darkened the libation. The centerpiece was an omelet with black pepper, garlic powder, and red (cayenne) pepper. In response our New Zealand friend offered good, round acidity. The commercial Turkish salad, which was composed of onions, tomato paste, and red pepper rendered the wine pleasant and tamed that offending characteristic, almost. Fresh strawberries brought that offensive taste back along with some darkness.

The final meal began with chicken wings in a soya sauce. The liquid responded with good acidity and bad, but somewhat weaker pea pods. The beef eggs rolls rendered this Marlborough resident metallic and almost dark. Chicken fried rice gave winey a burnt taste and good length. I got smoke, metal, and good acidity when our fermented grape juice was paired with fried beef strips and veggies. The final component of this (pseudo) Chinese meal was sweet and sour chicken. That infernal pea pod taste returned in force but the acidity started off good. And soured as the tasting continued.

Final verdict. I usually don't apologize for my reviews. But this time I know that I sound like a broken record. Believe me, I am not obsessed with pea pods. But I tasted them again and again. No, I will never buy this wine again. I don't understand the 95, I don't believe in numeric reviews but if I did, well maybe you can guess the number. And I won't be trying their $40 Sauvignon Blanc despite excellent reviews from another reviewer.


Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine Iwine with good company. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His Italiian  travel website is http://www.travelitalytravel.com .

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