Herald on Sunday column

A tale of two whites

This column was first published as Cheers in Living magazine in The Herald on Sunday, Auckland, New Zealand, 12 April 2015.

Here’s a question: “Is Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc as good as it is cracked up to be?”
The person who asked was shocked to see this superstar white on a supermarket shelf for $38 where it stood next to many other (good quality) sauvignons which cost four times’ less; $8 to $10 a bottle.
It’s tough making money from wine. Unlike beer and spirits, wine cannot be churned out year-round because it is made from freshly picked, fermented grapes, which only ripen once a year. This means that the cost of many bargain bin supermarket bottles is often a poor reflection of what they actually cost to make. Still, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc at $38 is a tad pricey in comparison. Is it worth it? At
the risk of damning it with faint praise, it tastes noticeably more full bodied, intense in flavour and smoother than most Kiwi savvies. So, yes, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon remains one of the best of its kind, thanks to its subtle bells and whistles – a little oak here, top winemaking there. As does the barely known 2013 Te Mata Cape Crest; one of this country’s quiet superstar achievers; full bodied sauvignon that offers, in my view, great value at $29.90. X-factor? Tick. Complex taste? Tick. Intensely smooth, soft and drinkable? Tick, tick, tick.