International Sauvignon Blanc Day, May 17 – The Wandering Palate’s favourite Savvy’s

Saluting the fourth annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day on May 17th, wine journalists all over the world have the opportunity to come out of the closet; to confess they do in fact drink sauvignon blanc and some may even admit to liking this overly-popular white grape variety. Read More >

Sauvignon Blanc Saved: Geoff Weaver Wines, Lenswood

There is a Tsunami of Sauvignon Blanc in the Australian marketplace, and an awful lot of what is available gives the grape a bad name. Thin, weedy wines, where vague fruit and harsh acid bifurcate on entry, leaving the fruit wandering about aimlessly, while the acid separately hits the middle of the chest like a liquid heart attack. Read More >

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Mahi Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – Marlborough, New Zealand

My approach to wine is I believe, much the same as most of us who actually drink the stuff and that is to be largely influenced by the mood or the food and level of thirst. Instinctively I consult my onboard computer first, listening to my emotions and as I am habitually obsessed with food it is normally the dictator of what wine I would like to drink. Read More >

Two Sauvignon Blanc’s Worlds Apart

2009 Villa Russiz Sauvignon – Collio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

2010 Sugarloaf Ridge Sauvignon Blanc – Hobart, Tasmania

As we wing our way from Melbourne to Singapore the wine list on SQ228 has me corned into a sauvignon blanc… a Tinpot 2008 from Marlborough purported to be “atypical as the grapes are predominantly from Blind River in the Awatere Valley which is drier and less fertile than the main valley floor. The result is a lively wine with strong lemony character, bracing acidity, pronounced minerality and overall freshness”.

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Shaw & Smith Suave Savvy 2011

We see a lot of Michael Hill-Smith MW in Singapore, here regularly for marathon tastings with Singapore Airlines as part of their wine panel.  There is also his annual release of Shaw & Smith wines with a tried and tested formula of an informal tasting of the new releases with Dim Sum, religiously attended by trade for both libation and appreciation of his penetrating candidacy on the wines and insightful words on Australian wine industry.

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Marlborough hits and myths

Cloudy Bay may have put a certain white wine and a region on the map but Australian expertise started the trend.

Despite being shunned by wine buffs and recalcitrant writers such as myself, sauvignon blanc remains the world’s most popular white grape variety and has been for more than a decade, dismissing any notion it is a passing trend. While there is no sign of sauvignon blanc’s prevalence waning, overconfident producers should not be complacent. As witnessed in the past, entrenched styles and fashionable varieties can easily become passe.

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Whiteout in Vienna

Curiosity gets the better of Curtis Marsh who lines up for a sauvignon blanc tasting, with surprising results.

How would you like to try no less than 50 sauvignon blanc’s before lunch?

It was a daunting prospect, even for a hardened wine professional. Personally, I am not endeared to sauvignon blanc, although I do enjoy the occasional racy, flinty sancerre blanc from the Loire Valley. Putting aside the notion of a monotonous succession of nostril-twitching grassy, herbaceous bouquets and gum nagging acidity, the opportunity to taste so many examples of this variety from all over the world got the better of my curiosity.

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Arlewood Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Sussex Loc 3991 Australia

Best Bordeaux Recipe, Barrel-Fermented Semillon Sauvignon Blanc of Year

Winery Profile

With a bevy of praiseworthy wineries, contention over the pecking order of Margaret River labels is constant and subjective. However, a small producer called Arlewood is materializing as the sleeper of the region and making infinitely more complex and refined white wines in the Graves style.

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White Asparagus with Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc
White asparagus with Sauvignon Blanc

Two offerings from the legendary Loire Valley vigneron Henri Bourgeois: 2007 Pouilly-Fume and Sancerre Les Baronnes.

This is about as classic as food and wine pairings gets; blatantly simply nonetheless, as any professional chef will tell you, the most satisfying gastronomic pleasures are an invariably a combination of the very best seasonal fresh produce and minimal cooking technique. Ironically, such purity and wholesomeness is frustratingly illusive.

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Tement Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ‘Klassic’ – Styria, Austria
Tement Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ‘Klassic’ - Austria

If there’s one white grape variety that has found its nirvana in the tropical climates of Asia, it would have to be sauvignon blanc, where practically every day is a ‘crisp white, summers drinking day’.

If I were a sauvignon blanc producer I would be focusing my attention and campaigning harder on this part of the world rather than seasonally dependent traditional markets. And that’s exactly what savvy Austrian wine producers are doing, with a youthful and energetic Armin Tement from Weingut Tement beating the feet around Asia recently and visiting Singapore on-route.

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