I confess – Sauvignon Blanc has really never been a favorite grape of mine. I have assiduously avoided it the way some people avoid Pinot Grigio, thinking erroneously, that I know what I will be getting in the glass. If there is one style of Sauvignon Blanc that I have really stayed away from – it’s that of New Zealand. Recent events and some humbling wine moments however have made me think that perhaps it was time to start over again. Not dipping my toe in the same water or reheating old soup – as they would say in Italy when you try to rekindle a failed relationship. We all know that never works. No I decided to erase any idea of my former self and go right to the heart of the wine style I thought I didn’t like. I went out and bought one from Benziger, much to my surprise. Of course, being in NYC meant it was more in the $17 range than $15 but it wasn’t an expensive wine. I actually really enjoyed it. The lees aging made it more complex on the palate and it paired well with my simple summer dinners and the occasional Peruvian chicken I bring it. It also stayed fresh for a couple of days.
I then remembered a recent tasting of New Zealand wines in April of this year where I tasted a number of wines that I enjoyed including those of Babich, Elephant Hill, and Spy Valley . None of these wines were what I had imagined they would be. They showed much more muted aromas and flavors rather than hitting me over the head with their aromatics.
New Zealand’s attention to purity of fruit and sustainability has always been interesting to me as is their technology but the wines were always second chair. I love that they are committed to “reducing all use of chemicals, energy, water, packaging.” At this last tasting, the wines seemed to show restraint and varietal purity which did actually interest me. I’m not sure if I am changing or if the wines are calming down a bit but whatever the new combination is, it works. I am looking forward to continuing my Sauvignon Blanc exploits. My longtime goal is to have it be a “banker” – always recognizable in all of its forms. We are a long way away from that sadly but I am sure it will be loads of fun getting to my destination.