Sunday, 26 September 2010

Brief notes on Sauvignon Blanc

The other week, Jenny and I were at a wine tasting in Basel featuring a Sauvignon Blanc from the Astrolabe Winery in the Marlborough region of New Zealand - a wine offering that typical gooseberry fix. We bought a couple of bottles and opened them with friends (and raclette) not long after. I enjoyed this particular Kiwi Sauvignon for its aromas and uncomplicated freshness.

Which brings me to the hinterland of Rheinhessen... Siefersheim in the Rheinhessische Schweiz is not one of the most renowned sources of Sauvignon Blanc, but its climate would, ostensibly, seem ideal for cool-climate gooseberry juice. Wagner-Stempel are one of the leading lights of Rheinhessen.

Weingut Wagner-Stempel, Sauvignon Blanc trocken 2008, Rheinhessen
Straw colour, although the nose is far more intriguing: minerals abound and lend an unexpectedly creamy exoticism to aromas of freshly mown grass and apple. The palate combines flinty minerals and gooseberry, swallowing up the 13% alcohol quite easily and culminating in a balanced, elegant finish. An intelligent interpretation of an old classic, but far removed from blatant gooseberryism.


  1. I cannot read about Astrolabe winery without remembering the disturbing thing that happened when we blind-tasted on of theirs against a Lake Constance Sauvignon Blanc from Aufricht:

    Best from
    (known by your comment filter as "The Wine"...)

  2. That's quite amusing - when I saw your posting I also wanted to comment on the Astrolabe experience, but Julian beat me to it. Despite the wine referenced above clearly being weird, I tasted another Astrolabe about a year ago that was just a delight of freshness.

    At moments I find Sauvignon Blanc downright annoying, but it also has something attractive to it. Thanks for reporting on this find!


  3. Hehe, thanks for mentioning that - I wasn't aware you'd tried Astrolabe yourselves. Sounds like a disturbing yet enlightening experience. I particularly enjoyed your lengthly interview with the Astrolabe team.

    For the record, the Astrolabe "Voyage" Sauvignon to which I referred retails at Basel wine store Paul Ullrich for CHF 19.50.

    And I know what you mean, Torsten, about Sauvignon Blanc as a wine per se. It seems like every self-respecting German winery now has to include it in its range. All well and good to a certain extent, I suppose - as long as they don't rip up any Scheurebe vines as a result. (Did I mention I like Scheurebe..?!)


  4. As I happened, I have just yesterday received a shipment of wine that also included Scheurebe... And thanks for the kind words on the interview!