Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Kim Crawford

Sauvignon Blanc

2012

(Marlborough, New Zealand)

On Bottle/Website:

*  A combination of dry and moderate climates gives near perfect cool climate growing conditions and assists with the intense varietal characters unique to Marlborough

* Crisp and powerful, well balanced wine with intense aromas of gooseberry, passion fruit and citrus flavors
* Light to medium bodied aromatic wine is a great match with salads, seafood and vegetarian dishes
* Upfront herbaceous aromas, backed by ripe fruit flavors of melon, passion fruit and crisp acidity
My Notes:
Appearance: clear, day bright, straw, light concentration, green rim variation, low viscosity
Nose: clean, medium intensity, green grass, asparagus, grapefruit, slate, honey, lemongrass
Palate: Off-dry, medium bodied, fruit confirms nose, prevalent green apple, medium minus alcohol, medium plus acidity, medium plus finish, medium complexity.
This wine was light, crisp and refreshing with a lovely nose.  This would pair well with a summer salad.  It paired spectacularly with seared rare ahi tuna with soy glaze, wasabi mayo and napa slaw.  The tuna brought out the asparagus flavors and the slaw brought out the grapefruit elements.  I believe the hype of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc!

Wine Cube Sauvignon Blanc

Wine Cube (Target Brand)

Sauvignon Blanc

2011

(St. Helena, Napa County, California)

On Box/Website:

* dazzlingly sophisticated, but completely down to earth

* tropical aromas, bright citrus and melon flavors

* crisp, refreshing finish

* vented and bottled by Trinchero Family Estates

* offers delicious, high quality wine with color, aromas and flavors providing fresh, full-bodied tastes

* guarantee the last glass will be as fresh as the first

* one cube equals two bottles

* fresh for up to four weeks

*13% alcohol

My Notes:

Appearance: clear, bright, low concentration, no rim variation, low viscosity

Nose: clean, low intensity, youthful, lemon, citrus, asparagus, grass

Palate: light, medium bodied, confirms nose, mild flavor, medium alcohol, medium minus acidity, short finish, low complexity

For a boxed wine, this Sauvignon Blanc delivered to my decidedly low expectations.  The wine established a very light, mellow flavor.  Non-aggressive and simple on the palate, this would be a decent wine to pack for a picnic or day on the beach.  Ease of transport and no glass are the selling features for this wine.  Although, in all honesty, this wine was more pleasing than many bottled wines I have tasted.

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Herbs

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

The summer is a perfect time to use a plethora of fresh herbs in every day cooking.  The following tips work for either fresh or dried herbs.

* Fragrant herbs (such as chervil, dill and tarragon) pair best with whites like Riesling and Chardonnay

* More pungent herbs (such as basil, thyme and rosemary) pair best with Sauvignon Blanc and many reds, especially Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc

Pomelo

Sauvignon Blanc

2011

(Oakville, California)

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On Bottle/Website:

* 13% Alcohol

* Definition of Pomelo: giant citrus fruit native to Malaysia and thought to be an ancestor to the grapefruit

* Reminiscent of coral pink tangy juice from a pomelo

My Notes:

Appearance: clear, bright, light straw, low concentration, no rim variation, medium viscosity

Nose: clean, medium intensity, young, pineapple, peach, lemon, grapefruit, white flowers

Palate: dry, medium body, lemon and grapefruit prevalent flavors, medium alcohol, medium acidity, medium plus finish, medium plus complexity

I had read about this wine being a great California Sauvignon Blanc value, so I picked up a bottle.  One of the first nights the weather started being nice enough to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine after work, I opened this bottle up to try.  My friend had made mango salsa that we were savoring and then topping our fish tacos with later.

I loved how the flavors of this wine danced with the acidity and flavors of the salsa.  My friend, on the other hand, did not care for the pairing.  The flavor of the wine turned lime-centric and sour while drinking with the salsa and fish tacos.  To me, it almost made it taste similar to a margarita.  The sourness also reminded me of a crisp green apple.  A few sips after we were finished eating, the wine seemed to mellow again since it did not have the flavors of the food to accompany it. I rather enjoyed the drastic change in flavor, as I found it both interesting and delicious.

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Oyster Bay

Sauvignon Blanc

2011

(Marlborough, New Zealand)

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On Bottle/Website:

* 13% ABV

* http://www.oysterbaywines.com

* Elegant, assertive with glorious fruit flavors

* Cool climate viticulture

My Notes:

Appearance: clear, star bright, light straw color, low concentration, medium viscosity

Nose: clean, medium intensity, aroma/youthful, asparagus, light tangerine, green grass, white flowers, melon, honey, golden apple, faint mushroom, slate, wet stone

Palate: dry, light/medium bodied, floral, melon, golden apple, slate, mushroom, medium plus alcohol, medium acidity, medium finish, medium complexity

Citrus flavors were more prevalent after the wine had breathed.

One of my closest friends and I have established a yearly tradition.  Whenever she has her annual garage sale in her town, I come over and we catch up and drink wine.  This year, I brought a bottle of this Sauvignon Blanc and it was a hit. I will definitely purchase this wine again.

Tasting Exercise: Acidity

I read a wonderful article in Food and Wine Magazine last Autumn about different tasting procedures you can go through to help yourself understand the different properties of wine tasting.  I wanted to save these exercises and the wines used to go through them with friends in the future.  I think this would make a fun little educational wine gathering!

Acidity

Natural acids, including tartaric and malic, cause the acidity in wine.  The acids can derive from the actual grapes themselves or the acids added during the wine making process.  The acidity in grapes varies greatly, depending on many different factors including the grape variety, sun exposure, climate and soil in the vineyard.  Grapes grown in cooler climates tend to have higher acidity.

While enjoying wine, you will feel the effects of acidity mostly on the sides of your tongue.  Overly acidic wines will cause an almost stinging sensation or sour taste in the mouth.  I pay attention to how much saliva my mouth produces after tasting a wine.  The more saliva produced, the more acidity in the wine.

Food Pairing

When enjoying foods high in fat, like alfredo sauce, the fat typically coats the palate and stifles the flavor of subsequent bites.  In these situations, the acid in the wine cuts through the fat lingering on the palate.  This effectively prepares your mouth to be able to fully indulge in the next delectable bite.

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Tasting Exercise

Equipment: Five 4 ounce glasses of water, one orange, one grapefruit, one lemon, one lime

Set aside the first glass of water.  Squeeze the juice of 1/4 orange into the second glass.  Squeeze the juice of 1/4 grapefruit into the third glass. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into the fourth glass.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime into the fifth glass.

Taste in that order, starting with a sip of plain water, to experience increasing levels of acidity. Experiment by adding more juice to each glass to see how the acidity increases.  Notice the point at which the juice becomes too sour for you.

Wines

The following wines will help illustrate the concept of acidity.  A type of wine is listed, followed by a specific vintage and brand that would work well. Each are listed in order from least to most acidic.

* Marsanne (2011 Qupe)

* Sauvignon Blanc (2011 Brander Santa Ynez Valley)

* Muscadet (2011 Michel Delhommeau Cuvee St. Vincent)

The wines in parenthesis were not necessarily the wines I found and used when first doing this experiment. They are wines suggested in Food and Wine Magazine. I used the ones I could find locally and if I could not find the specific brand they recommended or didn’t have the budget for the one they recommended, I used one that fit their category. I did these exercises before starting this blog so I did not record each brand and vintage I used.

Ranga Ranga Sauvignon Blanc

Ranga Ranga

Sauvignon Blanc

2011

(Marlborough, New Zealand)

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On Bottle/Website: 

* “Old School” Marlborough Sauvignon

* Fresh, vibrant, zesty

* Crisp acidity

* Fruit aromas, including gooseberries, limes, lemongrass, fresh cut grass

My Notes:

Appearance: clear, bright, medium low intensity, watery/straw, medium viscosity

Nose: sound/clean, high intensity, aroma/youthful, grass, asparagus, jalapeno, tomato leaves

Palate: dry, medium bodied, grapefruit, gooseberry, guava, tropical, medium plus alcohol, medium plus acidity, medium complexity, medium length

Tasting Exercise: Body

I read a wonderful article in Food and Wine Magazine last Autumn about different tasting procedures you can go through to help yourself understand the different properties of wine tasting. I found the exercises to be extremely insightful and it was easier for me to remember these properties after physically testing them myself.  I wanted to save these exercises and the wines used and recommended to be able to go through them with friends in the future. I think this would make a fun little educational wine gathering!

Body

Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson defines body as “the sense of weight or richness or heaviness, or even the feeling of viscosity that a wine leaves in your mouth.”

I have often used the analogy of comparing the body of wine to the difference in thickness with milk.  Skim milk is thinner and doesn’t have the richness of 2% milk, and that thickness/richness of milk grows as it reaches whole milk.  A light bodied wine would be comparable to the skim milk while the fuller bodied wines are comparable to whole milk.

Typically, if a wine has a higher alcohol content it will have more body.  Often times wines from warmer climates, which produce grapes with more sugar (that eventually turns into alcohol), tend to have more body.  Other factors in determining the body of a wine include sugar, oak and the concentration.

Food Pairings

One of the most common wine and food pairing tips is to pair white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine.  This concept refers to one of the most commonly used approaches when pairing food and wine: choosing wine based on its body.

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Tasting Exercise

Equipment:  4 glasses, 1/4 cup each of skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk and heavy cream

Begin with the skim milk and taste in the order of richness until the heavy cream.  Pay attention to the texture of each variation on your tongue and the sensation in your mouth.  The skim milk should dissipate quickly, which the cream will coat your tongue.

Wines

The following wines will help illustrate the concept of body.  A type of wine is listed, followed by a specific vintage and brand that would work well. Each are listed in order from least to most full-bodied.

Whites

* Northern Italian Pinot Grigio (2011 Tiefenbrunner)

* New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (2011 Kim Crawford Marlborough)

* White Burgundy (2010 Domaine Faiveley Bourgogne Blanc)

* Barrel-fermented Chardonnay (2010 Rodney Strong Sonoma County)

Reds

* Valpolicella (2011 Tedeschi Lucchine)

* California Pinot Noir (2010 Dutton Goldfield Azaya Ranch Vineyard)

* Chianti Classico (2009 La Maialina)

* Zinfandel (2010 Ridge East Bench)

The wines in parenthesis were not necessarily the wines I found and used when first doing this experiment. They are wines suggested in Food and Wine Magazine. I used the ones I could find locally and if I could not find the specific brand they recommended or didn’t have the budget for the one they recommended, I used one that fit their category. I did these exercises before starting this blog so I did not record each brand and vintage I used.

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre

Pascal Jolivet

Sancerre

2011

(Loire Valley, France)

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On Bottle:

* Sauvignon Blanc grapes

* Pale and vibrant in color

* Fresh & clean with racy acidity

* Dry & elegant wine

My Notes:

* Appearance: Clear, star bright, medium straw with edges of green, medium viscosity

* Nose: Sound/clean, medium/medium minus intensity, lemon pith, grapefruit, green apple, fresh cut grass, gooseberry, white flowers (jasmine, apple bottoms), chalky, wet rock, no wood

* Palate: bone dry, medium body, confirms fruit, pear, medium alcohol, medium acidity, medium finish and medium complexity

I tried this wine during a blind deductive tasting and thoroughly enjoyed the flavor.  After looking up the price point and realizing that it is in my typical price range for a wine, I will be picking up a bottle in the near future.

Riedel Wine Glasses

Financially, I am in no position to own a complete set of Riedel wine glasses.  But if I were given the opportunity to win the lottery and prove all of the doubts about money not buying happiness wrong, I would be enjoying fabulous wine every evening out of a proper Riedel wine glass.

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Riedel wine glasses are shaped according to the characteristic of the wine.  Each glass is hand-crafted and made from crystal.  According to http://www.wineenthusist.com, the luxury Riedel Sommeliers collection is the benchmark against which all other wine glasses are measured.  “The upper bowls are blown into a mold customized to concentrate the wine’s aromas and direct the flow of the wine to the optimal areas of the mouth.”

I still remember the first time I tasted wine out of a Riedel wine glass.  I was hesitant to believe that a simple wine glass could make a significant difference in the taste of the wine, but I was proven wrong.

Within the next year, I would like to start a basic set and collect The Key to Wine Tasting Set.  It seems like the best investment for me, mostly because it is the most economical.

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This set includes one chardonnay glass, one riesling/sauvignon blanc glass, one pinot noir glass, one cabernet sauvignon/merlot glass and one shiraz/syrah glass.  Clearly I would be buying this set simply for myself, so it feels a bit selfish because I would never pull any of these out with guests because I would only have one glass for each type of wine.  So I’m not really sold yet.  Also, I like having a stem on my wine glasses, but the Riedel stemless glasses are much less expensive so I would have to compromise.

I love reading the descriptions online about how the shape of the glass aids the tasting process.  For example, the Riedel website states that the cabernet sauvignon/merlot glass is “perfect for young, full-bodied, complex red wines that are high in tannin.  This glass smoothes out the rough edges, emphasizing the fruit, allowing wines to achieve a balance that would normally take years of aging to acquire.  The generous size of the glass allows the bouquet to develop fully.  The shape directs the flow of wine onto the zone of the tongue which perceives sweetness, thus accentuating the fruit and de-emphasizing the bitter qualities of the tannin.”  Doesn’t that make you just want to go out and buy the glasses immediately to test it out?