Legend has it when the esteemed Hugh Johnson was about to be poured a glass of sauvignon blanc he uttered
“sauvignon blanc is a weed that should be eradicated. ”
English wine writer Jancis Robinson wrote
“that of all the grapes among the nine included in the classic varieties section, sauvignon blanc has the weakest claim”.
She argues the ability to develop with age is an attribute shared by the world’s great wines and this is not something that Sauvignon blanc on its own delivers.
Both these views seem to rail against the huge popularity of this grape in the UK. It’s certainly been a triumph of marketing in the 90’s when most of us were getting a little bored with the sweetish over oaked chardonnay from the new world.
New Zealand has been the muscle behind this, we can all probably remember our first bottle of Marlborough Montana and how zingy it tasted. We all remember looking for that elusive bottle of Cloudy Bay.
But, for me it is just too one-dimensional and quite often very acidic. However, in the interest of research and curiosity I have recently tried some differing examples.
It’s USP is that it is aged in old oak, but for me this just doesn’t work at all. Neither Madam et Vin or I could finish the bottle, and trust me this is a terrifying, unheard of, indictment.
I have always wanted to use the word egregious in one of my blogs, so I will.
I think the old world deals with the grape more sympathetically by either blending it with semillion as in bordeaux or the more subtle approach as found in The Loire.
Sancerre is where it’s at for me. They manage to balance the sugar with the acidity levels and the terroir of chalk and flint give it almost a smokey taste. A match made in heaven with simple seafood.
Whilst I don’t think sauvignon blanc should be eradicated like Hugh, it’s some way down my list of preferences.