This week Nina tastes an unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Croix Duplex in Lavaux, Switzerland and describes a awful smell that tastes great.
Look out New Zealand!
It is remarkable how many grape varieties the Swiss now have and just how well they make wine. If only the world knew about the fact that they are not just pioneers in chocolate and cheese making. This particular drop is from the stunningly beautiful Lavaux wine region, which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Sauvignon Blanc (Sav Blanc) is cultivated all over the world but mainly in France, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and South Africa. However, it is most famous down under (the nickname for New Zealand as we kiwis like to call it). Aotearoa, is the maori name for New Zealand and means the land of the long white cloud. Cloudy Bay may ring a bell, they are the most famous producers of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand. European Savs tend to be more herbaceous compared to the Kiwi style which is far more fruit focused.
Sauvignon Blanc generally produces dry, fresh, crisp wine with very distinctive aromas. Cat’s pee to name one of them, which is quite common in this variety and not at all considered a bad thing. Certain plants and flowers can produce the same smell, elder flower for example has the same aroma. It’s the methoxypyrazines which are organic compounds responsible for that particular aroma in Sav Blanc. One New Zealand company even labelled their wine ‘Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush’. Enough talk about that, don’t want to risk putting you off.
Many aromas considered unpleasant can be found in wine, but in fact it’s a bit like pungent cheese, the more off putting the smell, the better the cheese. So if you apply this same reasoning to wine, ghastly descriptions for great wines.
In Bordeaux, Sav Blanc is a component in the famous sweet wines from Sauternes, Château d’Yquem and it is often blended with Semillion. Some of its other names: Fumé Blanc, (a name made up by Robert Modavi as a marketing tool to help sell his Sauvignon Blanc) and in the Loire Valley, Pouilly Fumé and Blanc Fumé.
Nose – An impressive array of numerous aromas whirl about the nose on this wine. Sage, gooseberry, fresh herbs, passion fruit, tomato leaf and lime.
Palate – Brisk and zesty acidity followed by a smidge of bitterness, a dash of mixed green and black olives and a vegetal herbaceousness to it enhancing its bountiful liveliness with a lingering finish. A first rate refined Sav.
Food & Mood Match – The fresh green components perk you up, so if you’re feeling a little lethargic and need livening up, this is the cure. This elegant Sav Blanc pairs well with oysters, fish dishes (especially with a caper sauce) and goat cheese.
Varietal Character – Flavors and aromas particular to a grape variety. Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect example of this in that it often displays a grassy herbaceous style. Shiraz, aromas of black pepper.
Price: CHF 14.80
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By Nina Bobillier
Nina Bobillier is a wine reviewer and guide. firstname.lastname@example.org