Wednesday, 29 August 2012


When receiving a bottle of wine as a gift, I am loathe to make notes when it comes to tasting the contents. After all, it goes without saying that the bestower of said gift wants us to enjoy the wine. I find that gurgling and slurping excessively can sometimes dilute the experience.
At a wine tasting event in Blackpool organised earlier this year by UK wine merchant Laithwaites, some close family members were particularly taken by a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. In fact, it was their favourite wine of the evening, hence we felt flattered to receive a bottle from them.

Insight, Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand
Normally I'm suspicious of wines with labels that spell out how the contents of the bottle are supposed to smell and taste. Is the wine really going to be like its description? Does the winemaker want you to believe that it tastes a certain way? I find that label descriptions can play on your subconsciousness in the same way as tasting notes. They can constitute a suggestive "crutch" to fall back on. As you can see, this label takes the practice to a new level.

Admittedly, it does so in original, aesthetically pleasing detail. In the absence of any notes of my own (we murdered the bottle over a meal of dill-seasoned salmon), these label descriptions come in useful now as an aide-mémoire.

Although I will always find it hard to fall in love with Sauvignon Blanc as a grape variety, we enjoyed this wine greatly. Of the various flavour components pinpointed on the label, I could identify "red capsicum" and "ripe pink grapefruit" surprisingly clearly. Whether the wine would have been able to evoke red capsicum and ripe pink grapefruit in my nasal nerves and taste buds without the aforementioned prompts is another matter. (Probably not, which is why I maybe should have covered the label up beforehand.) Nevertheless, this SB was unabashedly Kiwi in character, full of pungent aromas and fresh, upfront exotic notes. It also showed some welcome complexity.

I would love to try another bottle one of these days - though purely for academic purposes, you understand.

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