Friday, January 26, 2007

A Kiwi Style Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc exploded into the wine world in 1986 with the release of the 1985 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and its crisp, citrusy flavors. In the US, the Cloudy Bay wines set the bar for a new way of making Sauvignon Blanc wines , as well. If you enjoy tangy, unoaked American Sauvignon Blancs, you have New Zealand to thank for it, since before 1986 most US wines were oaked and fermented to taste more like buttery chardonnay.

If you've never had a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, you should try one. And if you like them, be sure to check out the 2005 Te Kairanga Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99, Costco). This is a classy Sauvignon Blanc from Martinborough in the Wairarapa region that is pale straw in color with clear and distinct aromas of passionfruit and lime. These aromas give way to flavors of white grapefruit and more lime. It is very bright and citrusy with a long, tart aftertaste. Ideally, this wine would have some grassy notes to balance out the citrus. A bit one-dimensional--although delicious for someone who likes citrusy wines like me--it represents very good QPR. It's available throughout the US, and should be relatively easy for you to find.

A wine with this abundance of citrus can be a little harder to pair with food than Sauvignon Blancs with a perfect balance between fruity and green, herbal notes. We found a good pairing for this wine with seared tuna, spicy slaw and some of the Barefoot Contessa's Szechuan peanut noodles. It would be equally good with other fish dishes, and with lemon and garlic roasted chicken.


David said...

yes, New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are definitely good; I'll have to try this. I've also found some nice pinots from NZ recently.

Dr. Debs said...

I've had a few NZ pinots that were inexpensive and good from Nautilus and Brancott. Simple, but good.