Tasting the difference – three bottles of sauvignon blanc


It’s a trap into which a lot of us wine-drinkers fall.

We fall under the spell of a particular grape and, in our enthusiasm, may not fully appreciate the variety it produces from region to region, year to year, producer to producer.

Indeed, the variation between wines from the same maker from vineyards in the same country in the same year can be wide.

As shown by a tasting on three 2017 sauvignon blancs produced by the award-winning New Zealand winemaker Villa Maria.

An appropriate labour of love on my part since May 4 is Sauvignon Blanc Day, celebrating what is the UK’s most popular grape variety.

All were sipped with seafood, to which they were wonderfully suited.

Sauvignon Blanc Day

Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2017

(RRP: £11.85).

This is a zingy wine made with grapes from the Wairau Valley and cooler Aware Valley in Marlborough.

Expect those typical gooseberry notes, but also a touch of tropical fruit and herbs.

I’d happily neck back a bottle sitting on my terrace on a sunny afternoon with nibbles.

Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2017

(RRP: £13.85).

There’s far more tropical fruit in this well-structured Marlborough wine, which has got great structure.

It’s a serious drink – not one to absent-mindedly sip lying in the sun, but to enjoy with food.

Its mouth-feel, acidity and ripe fruit flavours made it a great match for crab with a salsa of burnt pineapple, red chilli and wild garlic flowers.

Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017

(RRP: £15.95)

A quantam leap here for an extra couple of quid.

It was a classy match to a main course of fried red mullet served with cauliflower puree and a dressing of pine nuts, sultanas and wild garlic leaves.

Sauvignon Blanc Day

This wine has concentrated and complex flavours and great length.

There are hints of sorrel, grapefruit, gooseberry and herbs. There’s a flinty finish that cleans the palate and prepares it for another sip.

Something I was all too happy to do.

All these wines are widely available.