The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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52  /  the tasting panel  / august 2014 C M Y CM MY CY CMY K S auvignon Blanc is best known by its benchmark wine styles identified with Sancerre and nearby Pouilly- Fumé, Bordeaux and New World regions like Marlborough, Chile, South Africa and California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Beyond minerality, which is elusive, most of the New World styles can be emulated by other regions when conditions allow and picking decisions are spot on. With New Zealand's success in marketing overtly pungent Sauvignon Blancs to the rest of the world—the style isn't popular with locals there who have taken to Sauvignon Blanc– Pinot Gris blends—we're seeing similar flavors creeping in to wines from regions that have traditionally tried to suppress those varietal characteristics. When faced with evaluating like groups of Sauvignon Blanc, there's now a wider range of styles to navigate and, increasingly, a value proposi- tion to be reconsidered. Until recently, the majority of Bordeaux Sauvignon Blancs—which are traditionally blended with Sémillon and occasionally Muscadelle to add body and flavor—have been mineral and somewhat neutral (a con- sequence of over-cropping this high-yielding variety). While tasting a large category of 2013 AOC Bordeaux Blancs recently, I was thrilled to find so many different wine styles and some of the best quality-for-value Sauvignon Blancs I've tasted at between $6 and $15 SRP. Two wines from one of the region's larger producers, one a traditional Sauvignon Blanc–Sémillon-Muscadelle blend and the other a 100% Sauvignon Blanc that was introduced last year, illustrate the prog- ress of New World flavors. The wines below represent a snapshot of Bordeaux Supérieur producers of Bordeaux Blanc for 2013. 1 Pristine and focused with bright, tasty citrus and stony mineral flavors, $8. 2 Lean with spice notes that point to oak aging, rather neutral green fruit, $14.99. 3 Crisp green apple and lime with earthy minerality and weight from Sémillon, $10. 4 Pungent aromas of boxwood, yellow flowers and lean, bright lime and grapefruit, $9.99. 5 Broader and rounder with ripe lemon and apple; rich, clean and balanced, $9.99. 6 Pronounced tropical fruit and ripe pineapple with enough acidity to carry the finish, $12. 7 Crisp, white stone fruit that builds on palate with good intensity and length, $10. 8 Saline minerality with fresh, green herbs and green citrus flavors, $10. 9 Delicate floral and citrus aromas with crisp pink grapefruit and earthy minerality, $15. The Reveal: 1. Ch. La France; 2. Ch. du Lugagnac; 3. Ch. Haut Mondain; 4. Mouton Cadet 100% Sauvignon Blanc; 5. Mouton Cadet; 6. Ch. Le Grand Verdus; 7. Ch. Bois Malot; 8. Jean Médeville et Fils; 9. Ch. Bonnet. A Look at Sauvignon Blanc by Deborah Parker Wong 2013 AOC BORDEAUX BLANC

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