Wine of the Week

"A Completely Refreshing 95-Point Kiwi White!"

That was the headline for a recent email I received from one of the wine shops that I visit and purchase from.  Those of you that read this blog (I know there are a few of you out there) will know that I am a Sauvignon Blanc fanatic.  As they say, I cut my teeth on that wine (well, more like my palate), but I did drink a lot of it and I still enjoy it to this day.  So when I saw someone rating this wine a whopping 95 Points, I had to check things out.  What wine was it?

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, N.Z. 2016


First things first.  You should know that this 95 Point review came from Decanter Magazine.  Now no offense to the English, and knowing we all have different taste buds, I have always been a little wary of ratings from Decanter.  Maybe it's just that I don't read as much from them as I do from their American counterparts such as Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate.  Although, thinking about things, I have never been a huge fan of Wine Enthusiast, they are from the good ol' U. S. of A.  Probably just one of those things that you use that which is most familiar.  Oh well...I continue...

Off I run to that wine shop to secure a bottle and put into my fridge so I can see for myself just how good this wine might be.  This is a good time to say that regardless of what I might think of the wine, at a price of $13.79, I really didn't have any worry about picking up a bottle and trying it.  A good bottle of Sauv Blanc at that price is a keeper to me!

When dinner that night came around, I decide on a nice light summer salad with some seared chicken breast.  Can't think of a nicer pairing for an evening when we are still experiencing some higher temps.  So I assemble the salad, sear up some chicken breasts, add a nice light dressing and pour myself a glass of this potentially 95 Point thirst quencher.

So what's the verdict?

"Verrry Interesting" (using that German accent) as they use to say on Laugh In (okay, so I have to admit I've been watching reruns.  Although how that show ever got on the air and reruns continue even now eludes me).  

Upon first sip, I understood what the reviewer had to say about the wine"Opens with notes of fresh herbs and tropical fruits with Angelica and pineapple mixed with red apples and a wet stone minerality. The palate offers abundant acidity and lovely lemon and apple flavours (the English spelling). Long and concentrated."  Sounds great, right?  And upon the first sip, it did take on those notes, and not so coincidentally, the flavor I love in a good Sauv Blanc.  There is, as was indicated in the review, an almost Sancerre quality to the wine.  Agree wholeheartedly.  

What's the "Verrry Interesting" part?  As I continued to partake of the wine, it started to change ever so slightly.  You don't usually see a white wine, other than maybe some big Chardonnay, transform like red wines might from being open for a time, but this one did.  Becoming much more New Zealand in style.  The biggest difference was the wine taking on those all to typical tropical fruit and grapefruit flavors.  Once again, don't think I'm talking about a flaw in the wine, I'm not.  Heck, I'm even a little impressed with this transformation.  If it was like this when I first tried it, I would not have been half impressed.  While I like those bright New Zealand Sauv Blancs, they have become a little too common.

So what's my decision?  I'd give it a solid 90 -91 Points, maybe even one more for its ability to transform as it did.  At that great price of $13.79, I would definitely recommend it if you like New Zealand Sauv Blancs.  And going into the Summer months, this is a wonderful wine for the patio and lighter foods.  Enjoy.