Decanter have just released the results of their panel review - an extensive blind tasting – of perhaps the most widespread style of wine available on Irish shelves: the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (henceforth “NZSB”).
There you have four words that produce all manner of reactions among wine fans, not all of them positive. Jancis Robinson, that figurehead of wine opinion, expresses that breadth of opinion very elegantly in identifying NZSBs as “wines that are either impressively consistent or a touch boring, depending on your point of view”.
That’s definitely where I’d arrived with NZSBs – tried my fair share, know what I'm getting, time to try other flavours, I thought. No negative opinion, no real snobbery … just so many other wines to drink (it’s tough when you have 3000 at your fingertips).
So I guess I wasn’t wildly excited about the prospect of a Decanter NZSB review.
But now I am: its two standout performers have not only made me look (very) afresh at NZSBs in exhibiting a real width of style … they’ve positively made hairs stand up on my neck.
In a review of some 90 wines, two - and only two – emerge with Decanter’s hallowed ‘Exceptional’ status and 98 points to their classically-Kiwi names.
They are the Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and the Auntsfield Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016. Auntsfield is currently not available here, but we're working on that and we'll keep you posted.
The Tinpot, is all about super-ripeness and tropicality: It positively smacks of a fruit salad from somewhere pretty hot: pineapple, mango, passion fruit, papaya perhaps and even a touch of banana. It’s the geography and the geology, you see: the Tinpot hails from Marlborough’s Wairau Valley whose soils (light and stony) and sunlight are famed for producing riper flavours,
In sum, this is a tremendous wine that represents great diversity and value, and at €19.50 per bottle it’s not cheap, but it deliveres in spades, and you don’t have to take our word for it. Decanter after all, made it one of only two to get to the prestigious 98 point mark!