Around the World with Sauvignon Blanc: 7 wines from 5 continents

With Sauvignon Blanc Day on the horizon, Sue and I thought it would be fun to test our knowledge and to compete and contrast wines from around the world in a blind tasting. Imagine our surprise when in response to our request we received six wines from Terlato,  three from NZ Wine Navigator, and three from Brancott to add to samples from Idaho and others! With a dozen to choose from, we selected two wines from the Marlborough region of NZ, one wine each from NZ Wine Navigator and one from Terloto for Sauvignon Blanc Day #1 on April 25  And set aside the rest to choose from for a recent blind testing where

we tasted seven wines from five continents!

It was a warm day in Ojai so instead of paper bags, we wrapped each bottle in foil, used painters tape with sharpie to number them, printed out tasting sheets, made a plate with goat and other cheeses and appetizers including a pesto pasta salad, and away we went!  We grabbed them randomly from the ice chest and plopped the on the table for the tasting. Here are our results:

Nederburg from South Africa

#1 SOUTH AFRICA: Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – 2016 – 13.7% alcohol – $12.99 5k case production

This wine from South Africa is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Notes from the group

Gwen and I guessed this wine was from South Africa without the jalapeño chili notes that we have experienced before with South African wine. There was a bit of an unfamiliarity with this wine for the two of us. Another guessed the this was an American wine.

In color, it is a pretty light yellow gold. I found white stone fruit on the nose, with a  palate of lemon, and  a clear crisp citrus finish. As it opens up sulphur and petrol goes away, and the vegetal jalapeño comes through.

This was Melissa’s #3: she liked that it was fruity and clean while another stated that it was clear and clean. After it was revealed, Sue stated that it’s a great wine for the price because of it’s complexity: some vegetal, lemon, and salinity. Because of the minerality, and sharpness of the wine, we found that this blind tasting was fatiguing and tiring on our senses– and if we were going to do it again, it would be better to place an intense wine like this toward the end rather than first.

Tasting notes from the winery state that this wine has “vibrant color with flashes of green, on the nose “Melon and herbaceous nuances with fresh goose berries and a hint of green figs. They claim the taste is “Distinctive tropical fruit, gooseberry and herbaceous flavors support a balanced palate with a pleasant lingering finish.”

This wine provided as a sample from Terlato Wines.

#2 NEW ZEALAND O:TU – Sauvignon Blanc – 2015 – 13% alcohol – $23

This wine was a favorite of my new friends at NZ Navigator. It comes from New Zealand and is comprised of 100% Sauvignon Blanc. NZ Wine Navigator focuses on small producers with small lots, producers that are organic and sustainable and tied to the land;  this is a new kind of a wine club of carefully curated New Zealand wine primarily available to club members but also in select restaurants and online. Read about another NZ Wine Navigator sauvignon blanc by  Darling here.

This has typical New Zealand aromatics and flavors– very vibrant and intense. With a screw top offering easy accessibility,  it’s a great party wine, that looks festive too, and offers great bright memorable flavors.

Notes from the group

The aromatics of this wine really stood out to the entire group. On the nose, we found melon and citrus in particular: “smell of grapefruit jumps from the glass” “super aromatic” “peach and sulphur, very aromatic.”

On the palate, it’s very fresh and clean: “Sweet but dry” and “jalapeño jelly and grapefruit.”

This wine was provided as a sample from NZ Wine Navigator.

#3 UNITED STATES NO CAL Markham Sauvignon Blanc – 2015 – 13.8% alcohol – $18.99

From Napa Valley, this wine is comprised of 92% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Semillon.

Notes from the group

Sue found barnyard funk, Gwen found sulphur, and John was reminded of Pinot Grigio. In general people found this to be much more subtle especially after the previous two very aromatic wines. As such, it is food friendly: it is not going to hijack a meal. It is  well balanced and easy to pair with food. Light and easy drinking, this is a rather nondescript, mild and fruity sauvignon blanc that does not linger on the finish making it ideal for people do not want a super intense Sauvignon blanc.

Tasting notes from the winery state that this wine is “golden straw” in color. It has an aroma of ” citrus zest and fresh pineapple the grab your attention while white peach and wet stone add structural support to the abundant aromas.” The taste is “honeyed apricots, pear and citrus fruit flavors come together in a juicy sip. The crisp, citrus acidity is well-balanced and makes this wine easy to pair with anything!”

This wine provided as a sample from Terlato Wines.

#4 – UNITED STATES IDAHO Cinder Sauvignon Blanc – 2014 – 13.1% alcohol – $20 (?) 180 cases produced

This wine comes from the Snake River Valley in Idaho – 180 cases produced – 100% Sauvignon Blanc. It’s made by Melanie Krause using whole cluster and all wild yeast fermentation in 10% new and the rest neutral oak barrels then filtered before bottling.

Notes from the group

On the day of our blind tasting, I found it to be a bit bland, but with a fresher palate a day later, I revisited the wine and found it to be extremely pleasant and quite balanced. It went well with sand dabs and roasted veggies. I was particularly impressed with the interesting, complex, and lingering finish.

Sue and I both tasted the volcanic soils and minerality  and together we thought it brought to us “Ocean breeze and fresh cut grass on the nose.” We all liked the finish of this wine that day and later: this wine has substance and a nice body.

This wine was provided as a sample from the Idaho Wine Commission. We have been steadily tasting through a case of wine from Idaho and will be posting more results soon!

#5 – CHILE Lapostolle Gran Selection Sauvignon Blanc – 2015 – 13% alcohol – $13.99

This wine is from Chile – Rapel Valley and is a blend of 86% Sauvignon Blanc 8% Sauv Gris 6% Semillion.

Notes from the group

More yellow in color that others with lime on the nose, we found this wine to be clear and sharp on the palate with yellow peach and apricot kernel. I tasted the  Semillion in this wine which I identified as a roundness different from the others, and it also seemed younger than the others. Sue and I both thought this would be a good cleansing wine, and she got yellow cling peach.  We agreed this would go well with seafood risotto and fish tacos.

When revisiting this wine while mulling over everyone’s notes both of us remarked about the cling peach: not super ripe, not stewed in anyway, with a little bit of an edge from the skin.

Tasting notes from the winery state that this wine is “brilliant pale lime yellow” in color. The aroma is “very expressive with aromas of tropical fruit and delicate citrus notes. White fruit such as peach and herbal tones” The taste is “soft and fresh palate, pleasant roundness with very good acidity and a long lasting finish.”

This wine provided as a sample from Terlato Wines.

#6 – FRANCE Chateau De Sancerre Blanc – 2015 – 13.5% alcohol, $32.99

Temperature controlled stainless steel aged on lees for a minimum of 8 months.

Notes from the group

Sue and I both were sure this was a Napa wine. Sue’s notes form the blind tasting said  “Taste mild oak or neutral oak for the mouthfeel” but now we know that was that it was aged on the lees to give it that rounded mouthfeel.

Light in color, with great fruit and complexity on the palate including herbs like cilantro, with fruit like asian pear, and salinity. Everyone went back for this wine to talk about it more, and it was the wine that was finished first. This came in at #1 or 2 for many of the tasters, and it was more expensive than most of the other wines and offered more complexity.

Notes from the winery stated that the wine was “Yellow color with gold highlights. The aroma is expressive, with aromas of peach, pear and grape. Once the wine has had time to breathe, the aromas take on floral notes of violet and acacia. The taste starts off soft and round with lovely structure. The finish is long an generous. Enjoy the crispness of white peach, along with rose and violet notes, citrus flavors and apricot. 7000 cases produced

This wine was provided as a sample from Terlato Wines.

#7 – UNITED STATES SO CAL Santa Barbara Winery – $16.00

100% Sauvignon Blanc

Notes from the group

This is a very accessible, easy going  and easy drinking wine. We found this wine to be not as racey as Sauv Blanc can be, especially Santa Barbara Sauv Blanc. Instead, when you think about what a Sauv Blanc should taste, look like and smell like, this is the quinticential  example of what a Sauv Blanc should be. We all found this wine to be very easy drinking and  enjoyable – This was also one of the wines that were finished at the end of the tasting.

Winery says: “Barrel fermented 20% of the juice in neutral oak puncheons to give texture to the lean character of this wine without compromising the racy acids naturally found in Sauvignon Blanc. This results in richness and a silky mouth feel while maintaining true varietal expression. 85% of this wine is Musque Clone Sauvignon Blanc. The Musque Clone is an aromatic clone which develops ripe flavors at lower ripeness and little greeness. We are able to pick at lower sugar with ripe flavors and bright acidity.”

Gold Medal 2016 Texas Consumer Wine Judging
90 Points 2017 Wine Spectator”

Melissa is a wine club member; this is her favorite sauvignon blanc and she brought this wine to the blind tasting for us to enjoy and throw into the mix.

What are some of your favorite Sauvignon Blanc wines? Do you think you could detect which region a sauvignon blanc wine was from! What did you drink for Sauvignon Blanc Day? Cheers!

3 thoughts on “Around the World with Sauvignon Blanc: 7 wines from 5 continents

  1. Really nice SB post, Gwendolyn!

    Here’s one I did on SB day, for a recipe of mine – –

    and another one – –

    to pair on “Shrimp Scampi Day.” (Read on for the redundancy issues… 😉😄🤔 )

    “See” you tomorrow – Cheers, Rosina

    PS – Pix attached if you can use ’em…


  2. Congrats on staying on concept of informing about wines around the world, I have been looking with interest to Idaho wines so was happy to see you tasted and will have additional posts. Any Day


  3. Pingback: Idaho Wine Month Part 1 featuring Williamson’s Sangiovese and Viognier | wine predator

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