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Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Vibrant, lifted aromas of passion fruit, elderflower, green herbs and a hint of stone fruits. The palate is explosive with rich and succulent fruit characters and excellent mid-palate texture and weight. The refreshing acidity gives clean mouthfeel, and the flavors last and last. It is a lovely, expressive Sauvignon with beautiful balance and harmony.
"Palliser's wines seem to be improving across the range over recent vintages, with this being their best Sauvignon Blanc yet. A smoky, slightly fumé character marks the nose, then ripe peaches and nectarines wash across the palate, with just enough grassiness to impart varietal character. Plump and round, it's soft and approachable without being sloppy, ending on a note of ripe tangerines."
Winemaker Allan Johnson produces consistently superb wines, which reflect Palliser's prime vineyard sites in Martinborough. Their two brands – Palliser Estate and Pencarrow – offer a comprehensive portfolio of wines, including Chardonnay, Methode Traditionelle, Noble Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Part of the Wairarapa region in the southern end of the country’s North Island, Martinborough is a bucolic region full of artisan, lifestyle wine producers. Above all else, their goals are to tend vineyards for low yields and create wines of supreme quality. Pinot noir is the main grape variety here, occupying over half of the land under vine.
Comparing topography, climate and soils, the region is nearly identical to Marlborough except that it produces top quality reds on the regular.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.
In the Glass
From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.
The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the 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 (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.