Monday, July 2, 2007

RSVP Tasting: Sauvignon Blanc

Wine Chateau Des Charmes St David’s Bench Sauvignon Blanc 2006
From Ontario
Price $16.15 (LCBO, Ontario)
Alcohol Content 13.5%
Opening wine of the tasting unfortunately took a shellacking, as wines in that position often do: Fairly rich but indistinct nose; clean with a bit of grass on the palate… but unmoving. One taster called it ‘unbalanced’; the rest merely wanted to move on without comment. Curiously, not a good match with the accompanying oysters, either.

Wine Dourthe #1 Bordeaux Blanc 2004
From France
Price $19.77 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 12%
Distinguished, mild-mannered, light---ingratiating but past seduction. Sweet, pleasant aftertaste with notes of grass well under control. This played like an old pal at dinner, and sent people off in search of metaphor: “Towering Inferno-period Fred Astaire or Dark Eyes-era Marcello Mastroianni”, suggested one cinematic soul. Or in the words of one blushing young taster, “dating a guy that’s super nice but doesn’t have that edge.”

Wine Henri Bourgeois MD Sancerre 2004
From Loire, France
Price $21.95 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 12%
Clean nose and an attack that the eminence grise described as ‘steely’. (Roughly translated, that means a wine that’s not out to seduce you, but that has confidence that you will eventually come around to its way of thinking---having a plate of oysters nearby helps.) Balanced and leaning towards the minerally end of the spectrum.

Wine Chateau de Sancerre 2004
From Loire, France
Price $27.99
Alcohol Content 12.5%
Still the French rationalist, but with a bit more Pepe le Pew to its attitude: fruit more forward and a bit more residual sweetness than the Bourgeois above. Stampeded somewhat in the rush to the next wine, unfortunately.

Wine Domaine Fouassier Sancerre “les Romaines” 2005
From Loire, France
Price $25.28 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 12.5%
Big, fruity nose; persuasive without being aggressive; acid nicely balanced and under control. This is the closest of the three old-world SBs to new-world-style bigness; also the most complex in presentation. A complete wine and a nice statement.

Wine ‘Zed’ Sauvignon Blanc 2005
From New Zealand
Price $13.99 (BC Liquor Stores)
Alcohol Content 12.5%
Wild flavors! Aromatic, herbaceous; all sorts of nutty stuff. Lead taster was moved almost to poetry, or at least paused a long time before giving out with “a herbaceous canned asparagus finish.” Aside from winemaker assurances that this was indeed made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, no one is sure whether this belongs in the same category as all the other wines. Still, lots of personality, and the most modest price so far. Everybody likes.

Wine Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006
From New Zealand
Price $18.99 (BC Liquor Stores)
Alcohol Content 13.0%
Categorical confusion over the Zed above notwithstanding, the nose of the Oyster Bay plays like a near relative, or at least from the same tradition and style---either a more sober older brother of the Zed, or a wilder, younger cousin of the Dourthe. Classic grassy SB nose; acid taking over on the palate demanding food---salmon works. For the table rather than the patio, which for most tasters was a good sign.

Wine Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc 2006
From BC
Price n/a
Assertive nose, though not so weird as Zed. Big and… faceless on the palate---a distillation of the international style. Generic and nice enough, until the next bottle comes along. “Not much to it---but it’s got a great label” was the way one unkind taster put it, and there was no real disagreement from the rest of the peanut gallery.

Wine Sandhill Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005
From BC
Price $16.29 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 13.5%
Subtle nose, but then…. Silence. From the end of the table: “If I was looking for a glass of apple juice, I’d buy a cheap chard.”

Wine Jackson Triggs Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2004
From BC
Price $13.99
Alcohol Content 13.7%
The nose is distinct from the other BC SB’s… what is it? Mint leaves, freshly bruised. Big, soft fruit follows, together with the kind of creaminess that usually comes from being barrel-fermented. The winemaker claims that nothing but steel went into the mix, so where did it come from? Unnerving, if you’re after something reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc; bland in the face of the Zed challenge if you’re not.

No comments: