This is the greatest Sauvignon Blanc on the planet today. Here’s my story about how we fell in love…
I was lucky enough to spend a month travelling round Australia and New Zealand a couple of years ago. Being the wine buff that I am my wife “allowed” me to spend a few days in Blenheim (Marlborough, New Zealand), home to great wines and especially Sauvignon Blanc (SB).
I immediately visited the Cloudy Bay vineyard, the producer of probably the most famous SB. I, like many, loved Cloudy Bay SB and always made a point of having a bottle on my wedding anniversary. I was a little disappointed with the vineyard though, quite impersonal (as I’ve mentioned before). Luckily though there were many other Cellar Doors to visit.
We were staying in a cottage on a small vineyard just up the road (Google maps link) which, I must point out, did the most fantastic home made breakfasts in the mornings. (If I find a web link to where we stayed I’ll post it later on.) Like many small vineyards the owner told me he didn’t make his own wine but grew grapes on contract for a larger producer. In this case he grew wine for Highfield Estate. I’d never heard of them before but the owner told me about their great wines, especially their award winning SB.
The next day we spent the day wine tasting 🙂 and Highfield Estate was top of the list. The Cellar Door (note: award winning Cellar Door) is in a wonderful location (Google maps link) with a tower you can take in the fantastic views from. They even have rooms you can stay in plus the obligatory restaurant, quite a set up! Well, what can I say about the wine. We tasted several which were good but to be honest, the SB blew me away. It was all an SB should be, fruity, dry and packed with flavour. I was in love, goodbye Cloudy Bay, I have found someone else!
Fast-forward to last week when, to my delight, my case of Highfield Sauvignon Blanc 2006 turned up (early!) from Barrels and Bottles. It was still morning so I threw a bottle (not literally) in the fridge to chill and then tried to concentrate on my work for the day. As things turned out I didn’t drink this until the next day. A mistake…
A SB deserves to be served chilled BUT not too cold. When I first tasted the wine it had been in our fridge for over a day. I tasted it and began to tell my wife how fantastic it was but I was worried. It was nice but a little… bland? I began to worry. What had happened to the best wine in the world (note: authors opinion!)? To take my mind of this nightmare I began to cook. After a while I took another tentative sip. Oh, it tastes better now… Ah!!! Over-chilled SB!!
To my relief a little time out of the fridge brought the wine to life. And what a life! My un-tutored palette can’t possibly do this wine justice. All I can do is list what came to mind when I drank it… Crisp, loads of fruit, zesty/citrus, flavour. Wow, just wow. It’s wonderful…
Like most good websites the Highfield one lists lots of interesting detail about their wine. Their tasting notes for the 2006 SB say:
Meticulous fruit selection and cold fermentation contribute an abundant spectrum of tropical and herbal aromas. Passion fruit, gooseberry and red pepper fragrances spring from the glass. Extended lees contact adds depth, texture and balance to the palate. The finish is long and crisp.
“The 2006 has a very aromatic, fine, fruit lifted nose. Juicy, fresh, lively impact is followed by a crisp, fine mid palate that has some fruit depth as well as a citrus brightness. Finishes fluid, soft and slightly herbal. Smart wine”. Keith Stewart, Truewines 2007.
We even get some Sensory and Technical notes plus food suggestions and cellaring potential:
Colour: Pale straw
Aroma: Tropical and herbal
Palate: Invigorating, full bodied and persistent. Finishes dry
Fermentation: Predominantly stainless steel
Maturation: Four months post ferment lees maturation in tank
Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Total acidity: 6.6g/l
Residual sugar: 1.9g/l
Harvest dates: 20 March 2006 – 11 April 2006
Bottling dates: From October 2006, under screw cap
This wine will be at its best on release (January 2007) and until mid 2008
Well suited to fresh shellfish or Mediterranean cuisine.
Well, there you have it. My favourite white wine, probably my favourite wine altogether as well. I do hope you get a chance to try this, especially if you’re one of those people who pays your £18 per bottle for Cloudy Bay each year and would like to try something new. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Cloudy Bay but this year there isn’t any in my wine store, it’s full of Highfield Sauvignon Blanc 2006. A rating? As if you need to ask! 5 stars.
Highfield Sauvignon Blanc 2006