A Sauvignon Blanc That Won’t Break the Bank 05/16/11

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed two white wines in a row before – indeed, the very thought of it fills me with something akin to shame (possibly shame) – but with the weather heating up, I’ve frankly begun to wonder whether my famous red wine fetish wasn’t really seasonal after all. Moreover, I’ve also come to realize that I’ve somehow managed to neglect an entire major wine region in my reviews hitherto, despite my declaration that said mission had already been accomplished.

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Whoops.

The region? New Zealand, a tiny country just north of Australia, populated (as I understand it) by a blend of transplanted Europeans, the indigenous Maori, and the demonic Orcs. Wine-wise, New Zealand specializes in two varietals: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir – but if you haven’t figured out which of those I’m about to review, you may need to get your attention span etc.

Today I’ll be discussing the Kono 2009 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, from Tohu Wines. Due in part to its dry climate, the Marlborough region is highly regarded for its Sauvignon Blanc, a reputation which I have only recently been able to confirm is well-deserved. Also, as an added bonus, this bottle clocked in at under $10 at Trader Joe’s, making it an excellent value buy, even though I’ve never really subscribed to the whole concept of “weeknight wines.”

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Then again, wee knights are people too.

nullThis wine poured a pale, straw color in the glass, with a hint of green at the rim hinting at its youthfulness. The nose, however, is where the Kono started to impress me: with aromas of passionfruit, grapefruit, and something exotic I couldn’t identify that research (and the bottle label) suggests was probably gooseberry, the wine proved its complexity right as I started pouring.

Here I’ll take a second to note that the wine was sealed with a screwcap – a common practice in New Zealand, which reduces the likelihood that a wine will be spoiled before you drink it (I will refrain from any further commentary on the cork/no cork debate, but the Wine Catz make a good counterpoint).

Anyway, on the palate this Sauvignon Blanc was quite nicely balanced, with only a touch of excess alcohol on the finish. At first I’ll admit I was stunned to find unmistakable notes of asparagus (no foolin’!) on the attack, which subside to more predictable passionfruit and lemon flavors. There’s no denying this wine had a whole lot going on.

I award the Kono 2009 Sauvignon Blanc thumbs up, which I see now is also (basically) what the Wine Spectator gave it. Which probably means they should hire me.

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