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Sommelier Wine Awards 2009: Varietal Classics

New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc

Arguably the best performance from Kiwi Sauvignon since the start of the Sommelier Wine Awards, with variety and decent value too


For all that it’s beloved of the public, there is generally little affection for Kiwi Sauvignon in the restaurant community. Too expensive, too hard to match with food, too samey, are frequent criticisms.

Well, not on this evidence. Price-wise, while there was (unsurprisingly) nothing under a fiver, none of the wines were over £9 either. While in terms of quality the tasting teams were impressed with what they got, finding a shortlist of three wines in different styles, from green to tropical to complex, at different price points. It was, as Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn pointed out, a step up on 2008. ‘We didn’t have the depth last year,’ he said, ‘although it should have been there. But this is what the New Zealand guys have been talking about for the last two years.’

Moreover, there were few quibbles about food matching. Our tasters felt that the three wines on the Shortlist and Gold List could probably work with everything from white fish to altogether weightier and trickier food.

‘I was pleased to find a Sauvignon here that would easily match the green Thai curry,’ mused Hakkasan’s Philippe Loiseau, who surely knows a thing or two about pairing wines with Asian food...

Time, perhaps, for sommeliers to revisit Kiwi Sauvignon, and see whether the noises coming out of Marlborough are justified. On this evidence they are.


The wines we chose could go with white fish and scallops. With some of the others, the nose was good, but the mouth didn’t really deliver. Joris Beijn, Andaz


GOLD LIST

Tinpot Hut Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
£7.07 @ Liberty Wines
Elegant and restrained with less obvious punch but plenty of elegance
and persistence on the palate. ‘Fresh, lively and good fruit,’ said Philippe Messy.


SOMMELIER'S SHORTLIST

Golden Mile Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Domaine Georges Michel, Marlborough
£5.99 @ Amathus Wines
Good example of Kiwi Sauvignon, with an exuberant green nose of warm grass and gooseberry, and nice weight on the palate. Good for the price.

Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough
£8.61 @ Corney & Barrow
Lush, tropical and lingering, the intense tropical flavours are followed by a soft, herbaceous finish. Lobsters with chilli and caramelised pork belly were mooted as good dancing partners.


Editorial feature from the Sommelier Wine Awards 2009.

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