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If NZ Sauvignon Blanc is Best Who's Second Best?

Sam Salmon May 23, 2012 09:39 PM

Lots of Sauvignon Blanc on offer but IME it all pales next to the Kiwi product-any suggestions for easily available ( a loaded term I know) product?

Does Oregon SB live up to the hype?

They want upward of $25/bottle here so I'm leery.

TIA

  1. g
    goldangl95 May 23, 2012 09:58 PM

    It really depends if you have a good wine store in your area or not. Sancerre (a french region that produces sauvignon blanc) should be available at any well stocked wine store. Ask for a rec for one that has more fruit, less grassy to start with.

    American Sauvignon Blancs tend to be all over the place, some are tropical fruit-y, some are austere. I don't really have a great rec on that front.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95
      p
      pinotho May 23, 2012 11:27 PM

      Rochioli sauvignon blanc (Russian River Valley) is among the best from CA, if not the best. Very consistent from year to year. Around $30..

    2. b
      bob96 May 24, 2012 12:04 AM

      The early success of NZ sauvignon blanc was its ability to capture and magnify the grassy, stony fruit of Sancerre. Return to the source for a good (estate) Sancerre and see what it's like; also in the Loire, an estate Touraine sauvignon blanc can be excellent value, and neither should be more than $20-25.

      1. Tripeler May 24, 2012 01:10 AM

        While I really like Sauv Blanc from New Zealand, I know many people who don't think that highly of it. It really depends on what you personally like. For me, a good SB distinguishes itself well from Chardonnay.

        1. ChefJune May 24, 2012 11:39 AM

          Interesting comments. I find NZ Sauvignon Blanc FAR from the flavor palate of Loire SB's. NZ is loads of tropical fruit, Loire's is grassy.

          I'm not a good one to give you subs, because while I don't dislike NZ Sauvignon blanc, I prefer Sancerre. and I like several from Napa Valley, too... notably St. Supery and Honig.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune
            PolarBear May 24, 2012 03:13 PM

            Several of us did a comparison a while back looking for the best for get for a large social function and Honig (btw $15-20 iirc) came out on top over some of the pricier ones such as Duckhorn. Sorry can't recall the other 3-4 at the moment.

            1. re: ChefJune
              r
              Rella May 25, 2012 10:16 AM

              My one Sancerre botle note: mis en botteilles au chateau, App Sancerre Controlee, Chateau de Sancerre 2006, "We liked. Don't buy again, because it wiped us out." :-))

              1. re: Rella
                Bill Hunt May 25, 2012 08:13 PM

                Rella,

                That is funny, but then does "hit home." I love SB's, more than my wife. Often, when I declare "Wine-Thirty," and before she arrives home, I often start by sipping SB's I find that I can do fewer ozs. of SB, without "feeling something," than some other white varietals. I do not know the "why," as almost all are fairly low in ABV. Still, the effects have been well-noted, at least by me.

                For me, and in VERY general terms, the "impairment quotient" for SB vs Chardonnay, seems about 2:1, regardless of ABV. I am not sure why, but just something that I have observed over the decades.

                Interesting that you make a point of similar.

                Hunt

            2. b
              Brad Ballinger May 24, 2012 12:20 PM

              I'm with Chef June. I'll take A loire Sauvignong Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly Fume) over Kiwi juice any day. And I find NZ sauv blancs nothing like them

              Also, readily-available domestic sauvignon blanc at $25 may be difficult. Readily-availbe under 420, yes. Not readily-available over $25, yes (Rochioli, Merry Edwards). But not so much of both.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Brad Ballinger
                b
                bob96 May 24, 2012 01:00 PM

                Am I crazy for thinking that at least some of the original attraction to NZ sauvignon blancs was that they managed to recoup the grass/acid bite that, apparently, some Sancerrois producers were said to be moving away from? This would ave been at least 20 years ago, and now, mostly I get too many tropical NZ notes. For Sancerre, Cotat, Bourgeois, Mellot, Crochet, among other dependable houses. Pouilly -Fume can a bit better value, having slipped a little below the radar these days.

                1. re: bob96
                  b
                  Brad Ballinger May 24, 2012 01:40 PM

                  For Cloudy Bay as a pioneer, I think it's a fair satement. But so many nowadays are all grapefuit and tropical flavors. For true cat piss, though, you have to go to Loire (or drink Scheurebe from the Pfalz).

                  1. re: Brad Ballinger
                    b
                    bob96 May 24, 2012 01:50 PM

                    Speaking of acid from the other end of the Loire, I miss those cheapo liter bottles of Gros Plant. No fruit problems there.

                    1. re: Brad Ballinger
                      Bill Hunt May 24, 2012 09:19 PM

                      Brad,

                      Do not forget the "damp hay" in the NZ SB's, along with the heavy grapefruit.

                      Wife loves SB's, that are more in the order of a hint of lemon, and some of lime, with her Dover Sole, and when they get to grapefruit, she passes. Same for some of the "cat's pee" offerings too.

                      I tend to think of some SB's as sippers, prior to the food, and then others, WITH foods, but it can depend heavily ON the foods.

                      Hunt

                2. Bill Hunt May 24, 2012 09:13 PM

                  Sam,

                  So very much depends on what you want to pair with the SB.

                  I love the NZ SB's BUT find them better sippers, than food wines, at least IMHO.

                  For food, I go to France, and either the Loire, or Bdx. I also find many Napa SB's well-suited for food pairings, but then, it depends on the food. As a "for instance," I love the Groth Napa SB with sushi. There is enough acid to pair with the seafood, yet enough fruit, to handle wasabi. It just depends.

                  I have not had any OR SB's, but would anticipate some lovely wines - just not ones, that I know.

                  Let us know a bit more please,

                  Hunt

                  Do you want sippers, or food-wines?

                  1. a
                    Asomaniac May 24, 2012 09:28 PM

                    I dislike Kiwi SB with a vengance, so pretty much any good SB that is not from New Zealand is great in comparison. My stomach turns at the mere thought of Cloudy Bay. All just a matter of personal taste, I know.

                    For top notch SB that p****s on Kiwi SB, try a good Sancerre or Pouilly-Fuisse. Or a good white Bordeaux (often a blend of SB and Semillion, but plenty of SB only or very SB dominated stuff as well).

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Asomaniac
                      Bill Hunt May 24, 2012 09:33 PM

                      While I love a good NZ SB, I think that my wife would agree 100% with you.

                      Now, she is much more into the fruit-forward SB's, from the US, though has enjoyed some older Bdx. She's not much into the SB's from the Loire. I will not mention some of her descriptors there, as we are a "family site" here. Of course, she uses similar language, regarding NZ SB's though with different harsh words.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                        a
                        Asomaniac May 25, 2012 08:06 AM

                        It's just a real matter of taste - a stereotypical Kiwi SB is very specific and like marmite, I think you either love it or hate it (though i can appreciate a well-made Kiwi SB; I won't enjoy it but certainly can respect and appreciate that it's a well-made wine).

                        Also, there is some Kiwi SBN that does not fall into any of the stereotypes of Kiwi SB; for example - coming back to the ever-present Cloudy Bay - the Te Koko is unusual. Still not quite sure what I make of it, but it's certainly different.

                        Does your wife dislike all types of Loire SB? The various types differ quite considerably so i am wondering if there is any particular Loire type she dislikes / likes more than another.

                        US SBs: really can't get excited about those at all. I can honestly say that i have never had one I really disliked - they were all fine. But equally, I have not found a single one to be particularly memorable (other than perhaps Chaleur Estate from Washington (love DeLille generally) - but then again, that just tastes like a decent white Bordeaux (especially impressive at that price) and has a good chunk of Semillon in it (25%?)). Some of the Napa SBs are good fun, but nothing spectacular.

                        1. re: Asomaniac
                          Bill Hunt May 25, 2012 08:16 PM

                          I do agree, regarding the NZ SB's. They are a personal taste. Some ARE different, but usually not by THAT much. I enjoy them, but find many tough to pair with foods.

                          As for the US versions, I enjoy many, and find that those DO pair with food better.

                          As for the Loire, and Bdx, it becomes a matter of personal taste.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            Sam Salmon May 28, 2012 08:02 PM

                            Oops!

                            I forgot that I posted this-Thanks to everyone for their contributions-even the usual suspects.

                            FWIW-this time of years it's all about picnicking here and since I love hints of tropical fruit I adore Kiwi SB.

                            1. re: Sam Salmon
                              Bill Hunt May 29, 2012 07:23 PM

                              Sam,

                              For picnics, I do like NZ SB (though wife is less a fan), nice Rosés, and Champagnes (sometimes Rosés there too).

                              Enjoy,

                              Hunt

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