2012 was a cool, wet and cloudy vintage, so it’s interesting to see what this does to the flavour profiles. The flavour spectrum has edged away from the tropical passionfruit in these circumstances, and more towards cut grass and citrus. There’s still the tell-tale gooseberry, but it’s a little raw. Finish is a little short, and so after all that flavour up front you get hit with a slap of anti-climax.
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The below is taken from Wine-Ed for Fooderati, June 2013, where I showed some UAE food bloggers that not all aromatic whites have to be Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio:
…. Marlborough is by far New Zealand’s most important wine region. Its Sauvignon Blancs have wooed international consumers well for the last 10 – to 15 years, and have drawn them back time and again to the tropical flavours and bouncy acidity, particularly at the price point. The region is the sunniest in New Zealand, and is quite various, with flats, valleys and hills, making it quite resistant to odd vintages due to the blending that can occur over several terroirs.
The flavour that draws many to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is gooseberry. It’s a fairly acidic green berry fruit that many have never have tasted. It’s related to currants, a little like a passionfruit, but milder, a little like grapefruit, but not as bitter, a little like pineapple, but not as sweet. (Interestingly, a Cape gooseberry is a completely different fruit, as is the Chinese gooseberry, which is actually a Kiwifruit.)
The unfortunate character that often comes with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is ‘cat’s pee” – which is in fact a sulfurous compound also known as p-mentha-8-thiol-3-one that has a blackcurrant aroma when mild, but doesn’t smell so good when it’s in higher concentration. Unfortunately, they don’t know what causes the concentration variances, as the aroma is found only in the wine, not in the unfermented grapes. But basically, the more intense the wine (e.g. from warmer years), the more intense the smell.