Best in show… two great whites in a different light

According to a workmate, a mind and a parachute have something in common – they only work if they’re open.

Sam Weaver models Churton Best End Sauvignon Blanc on the great whites of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in France’s Loire Valley.

It’s a good analogy for how many of us working in the drinks trade feel about high volume products, which leads me to Sauvignon Blanc – the most planted grape in New Zealand (23,102 hectares of the country’s total of 37,968 hectares) and the sole ingredient in these two wines of the week from Marlborough and Central Otago.

Sauvignon Blanc makes up 77% of the white grapes grown in this country and over 85% of our wine exports, so it’s easy to tire of the familiar, if high quality, styles of fruit driven Sauvignon – but here are two wines that throw a new light onto this familiar wine.

A big wine from a tiny winery… Churton Best End

2017 Churton Best End Sauvignon Blanc $47

Sam Weaver has a background in the English fine wine trade so it’s no surprise to see his great whites modelled on the great classics of the world, such as France’s Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, whose complex flavours inspired this cool, calm and collected, full bodied Sauvignon Blanc, made from a 1.2 hectare vineyard on a north facing slope, 185 metres above sea level above the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough.

Hand picked grapes were barrel fermented in old oak and the wine is unfined, unfiltered and made in small quantities – 2890 bottles made from 2017.

This is one of the best Sauvignon Blancs ever produced in this country – a stellar full bodied, rich and flavoursome white. Delicious.

Central Otago sweet white

2016 Amisfield Noble Sauvignon Blanc $45
This delicious sweetie tastes like a combination of liquid clover honey and freshly picked green plums. It contains 122 grams of residual sugar per litre, balanced by vibrant acidity (7.20 to 8.20 grams per litre), which tones down the sweet flavours, adding length to every sip.

Central Otago is known for many impressive peaks from its majestic mountains to its powerful Pinot Noirs, so sweet Sauvignon Blanc steps outside the norm for this southern region. That’s no surprise from Amisfield winemakers, who experiment with a diverse range of delicious styles from sweet Sauvignon to a full bodied, barrel fermented fumé – also incredibly tasty, but that’s another story.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *