Monday, May 02, 2005

2 Sauvignon Blancs: NZ

KIM CRAWFORD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 (and 2001), Marlborough, NZ, 12.5% XD, #975672 $19.95 ($19.95)

Harvey Steiman (Wine Spectator) says: "Explosively aromatic, brimming with spice, herb and peppery character, surprisingly docile in the mouth, with lovely pear, apple, melon and mineral flavors that linger enticingly. Impeccably balanced. Drink now. Score - 91." Natalie says: "This one has the distinct aroma of talent: ripe green apples, passionfruit and pears. Zippy and refreshing. Score: 93/100." The Kim Crawfprd website says: "Pale straw with touches of green. Classic Sauvignon characters of gooseberry, passionfruit and a touch of African sweetgrass. Unfolds with flavours of passionfruit, gooseberry and subtle herbaceousness. The wine is mouthfilling with good texture and finishes well with crisp acidity and great length. A great aperitif. Ideally suited to asparagus, oysters and summer salads. A wine to drink now and, with careful cellaring, will last up to five years." My notes: Although the Kim Crawford winery is located in Hawkes Bay (on the east coast of the North Island) grapes are selected from Marlborough which is in the north of the South Island, NZ, the same region as Cloudy Bay. Based on the 2001 vintage which lost most of its fruit in a year and became grassy the second year, a claim of five years cellaring seems much....I'd limit it to no more than a year. Not 'explosive' but still a pleasant gooseberry aroma. There is a 'subtle herbaceousness' which distinguishes it from the Cloudy Bay. Some mineral and less roundness in the mouth and lack of depth in the finish that is the $12 difference. A very pleasant sipper which will go with any seafood. Vintages release April 30, 2005. The 2004 has a screwcap.

CLOUDY BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 (and 2002), Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% XD, #304469 $31.95 ($28.95)

Vintages says of the 2004: "The legend returns. This is the wine that put New Zealand on the map. It remains the country's most sought after wine. Score 5 stars (out of 5)." The Cloudy Bay website says: "The fruit was machine harvested during the cooler night and early morning temperatures and transported directly to the winery. The grapes were de-stemmed and transferred straight to tank presses. Free run and lightly pressed juice was cold settled for 48 hours then racked and inoculated with a neutral yeast strain. The fermentations were carried out in stainless steel tanks; after fermentation the wine remained in contact with yeast lees for about two months, prior to blending in July and subsequent bottling in September." My notes: The 2002 was laid down March, 2003 and has lost seventy percent of the original gooseberry or 'blue spruce' nose. The colour is a shade deeper than the 2004 being a light straw and ageing has introduced a roundness that fills the mouth with each pleasant sip. Finish is a very long and a smoothe gooseberry/melon. Yummy! The 2004 vintage has a screwcap so it would be interesting to see what happens in two years.... but I recommend no more than one year to retain the very appealing aromatic gooseberry nose. More spicy crispness on the tongue than the 2002 but not quite as much mellow roundness, otherwise very similar. Both are pleasant sippers or will go with any seafood, bruschetti, cream pastas (may be stretching it but try it and let me know!), oysters, spicy mussels, salmon pieces on greens, etc. Vintages release April 30, 2005.

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