Third times a charm...
Maybe I should end that sentence with question marks instead of periods. In two previous "Wine of the Week" posts detailing a couple of highly rated New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (both rated 95 Points from Decanter Magazine), specifically Churton and Wairau River. I then came across a third one that was rated 98 POINTS and I knew that I just had to try the wine and see if once again the British come through as an even bigger fan of Sauvignon Blanc than I am.
The wine, also coming from the Marlborough area of New Zealand, peaked my interest even before I tasted it but not only due to the review and the score it received. This was a case where I did some checking before I bought the wine to see if I could gain any inkling of why it may have been so well reviewed. This new find is the
Auntsfield Single Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
While doing so it was immediately evident that the wine possesses some of the winemaking characteristics that I find so impressive in turningSauvignon Blanc into such a formidable wine with flavors bursting from my glass. It's not that I don't find the more typical New Zealand Sauv Blancs enjoyable. I most certainly do. What has become more evident to me over the last couple years are the winemaker's ability to transform some of their wines into more than just the typical grapefruit filled wine.
Using ideas like whole cluster pressing and the use of more oak in the fermenting and aging process, the latter being something that I have come to realize how much more complexity you can garner from the wine by using oak. Some of my most favorite Sauv Blancs have been aged in oak.
I decided that this wine deserved a special dinner. Coincidentally, I had a new recipe for a salmon dish that I think would fit the bill. A balsamic honey sauce with rice and spiralized zucchini. I had to do the zucchini as I was out shopping at a local kitchen wares shop and came across a hand-held version of a spiralizer from Oxo. Cutest little contraption I've ever seen and used. I'm so easily impressed sometimes.
So I whip up my dinner and pour some wine into my glass. I'm not sure I can do as good of a job describing both the aromas and palate of the wine so I'm going to use the winery's own words that I feel are so appropriate:
AROMA: Lifted and pure aromas of fresh passionfruit, ripe citrus and lime. Notes of dried herbs, lemongrass, jalapeno and blackcurrant add pungency and intensity to the aromatics.
PALATE: Powerful, tight and elegant. This wine displays intense ripe fruit flavours of passionfruit juice and white peach, with citrus notes of lime and mandarin pith. The palate has intense concentration and generous weight, balanced by an underlying minerality and tight structure to shape a wine with lively tension and textural balance.
Tell me that doesn't sound just scrumptious? And it was!
Like other reviewers, I have to say I've always been a little reluctant to score Sauvignon Blancs so high on the 100 Point scale. At least without thinking the wine will cost a small fortune or coming from the likes of certain French producers famed for their wines. At only $17.49, this is almost too good to be true and I can tell you that finding the wine may be the same. It will probably be extremely difficult to find, but if you come across the wine and you're a Sauvignon Blanc kind of person, especially one that loves that grassy and minerally type, buy it! You will not be disappointed.