I review a fair few Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs, even though it is often difficult to see new and interesting things in what can be a fairly homogenous style. One path to further interest is to head down the terroir route, seeking variety and insight through specialisation. Another, and this wine is an ideal exemplar of what I mean, is to look for the essence of the style in the most mainstream context.
The wine that originally got me hooked on the style, many years ago, was the standard Geisen, a humble drop by any measure. It was explosive, full of flavour and immersed in the utter vulgarity that is, in my view, an essential ingredient of good Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We often celebrate delicacy and restraint in wine, but there’s a gaudy beauty in excess, and I believe we miss something if we choose not to engage these particular aesthetics.
To the wine at hand; what I like about this is that, without pretense, it exemplifies the drinkability and character of the style. It’s a great mainstream wine. The nose is tropical and heady, with passionfruit, some papaya, a bit of green. This isn’t the complex, edgy wine some producers are exploring in the region. But in its way, it is perfect, showing all that’s good about this varietal, including a degree of loucheness, without unattractive exaggeration or insulting timidity.
The palate is simply delicious, with well balanced acid supporting an array of simple but typical flavours. More passionfruit and lemon curd, tangy and moreish. The trick here is that it sidesteps the least attractive tendencies of the style: an excess of acid, too florid a flavour profile. The middle and after palates are of moderate intensity and good flow. The finish is short, as one expects, but clean, with a nice lift of grassy aromatics cleansing the palate.
A great, highly commercial example of why this is a classic wine style.