Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs - Pleasing Palates And Wallets Worldwide

Matt and I are amateur oenophiles, so while we're in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand this February we'll be touring several vineyards and tasting as many different wines as we can. And unlike the wine critics I can assure you I'll be swallowing, not spitting. (For you "Office" fans out there: that's what she said.) Although we differ in our wine preferences (Matt enjoys lighter, unoaked wines and I gravitate toward old world reds like Brunello and Bordeaux) one of the whites we can both agree on is Sauvignon Blanc. Coincidentally, this varietal is produced in New Zealand by the barrelful and is "arguably the best in the world" according to Wikipedia, the all-knowing Oz of the internet. As such, I thought I'd pass along to you some of the best NZ Sauvignon Blancs that Matt and I have personally tasted in preparation for our trip, which also happen to be very reasonably priced.

Although it's not exactly cheap - the 2005 Cloudy Bay rings in at less than $30 and is a real steal given its high quality. We also like the fruitier and slightly less expensive 2005 Te Whare Ra. I'll admit it's a bit more difficult to find in the States than the Cloudy Bay is (we ordered ours through a distributor) but most wine stores will try to hook you up with whatever it is you're looking for if you ask nicely. (Editor's Note: We've found Zachys to have a large selection of carefully edited wines both in-store and online, plus they post reviews when applicable which makes it easier to compare bottles.) In the extremely reasonable $17 and under range a sure bet is the 2007 Kim Crawford which is a perfect bottle to bring as a hostess gift. It's fruity, crisp and especially delicious in warmer weather, although we enjoy Sauvignon Blancs all year round. P.S. Don't be put off by the screwcaps on all of these bottles: they're making a comeback as screwcaps are often able to preserve wine better than corks by eliminating 1. the chance of cork taint and 2. the chance of wine oxidizing prematurely, both of which can happen quite often with regular corks. Cheers!

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