Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2003
At Oxford Landing, we like to ‘keep it real’. That means maintaining a sense of perspective and recognising what really matters. Remembering where we came from and being proud of our roots. And making wines that are a true reflection of the place they come from. Many of the famous wine regions of Europe are planted around great rivers. The Gironde in Bordeaux, the Tain in the Rhone Valley and the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany. In Australia, we have the Murray River. Set on the banks of South Australia’s majestic Murray River, the Oxford Landing vineyard is named after a nearby site where an old paddle steamer called ‘The City of Oxford’ met with an untimely end. Drovers once grazed and watered sheep here but today it’s home to a loyal flock of down-to-earth folk who take great pride in making quality wines, enjoyed the world over. With 650 acres under vine, we could never call Oxford Landing small but we act like we are. We micro-manage 130 five-acre blocks as separate ecosystems so we become intimately familiar with each block and can give the grapes exactly what they need to achieve optimum flavour. ‘Small vineyard’ techniques such as detailed pruning, canopy management and crop thinning give us ultimate control in expressing the individuality of each block. And we are nimble enough to harvest small batches of the fruit as soon as it ripens, so not an ounce of freshness is lost. The ‘small scale’ approach continues in the winery with methods usually reserved for boutique winemaking. These include using wild ferments native to the vineyard and back-blending with barrel-aged wines. Minimal handling of the juice also means less chance for error or contamination, so the fruit is processed gently yet quickly. Thinking small does make a lot more work for us, but we take pride in working hard to craft quality wine. Every one of our wines is bottled at our winery in Australia. By nurturing the wine every step along the journey from bunch to bottle we can guarantee the authenticity, provenance, quality and consistency of every wine, every day. We put our heart and soul into every bottle of wine we make so there’s no way we would entertain the variances and vagaries of bulk shipping and offshore bottling.
Considered the heart of Australian wine, South Australia is home to the nation’s most famous regions and oldest vines. Although vineyards occupy only a small part of the state’s extensive terrain—mainly in the southeastern corner—it is incidentally responsible for nearly half of Australia’s annual harvest.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.
The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.