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Friday 23 December 2011

Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc such as this Jackson Estate Stich can be considered as many things - a benchmark style of tropical, zesty Kiwi SB, something a little passé for the fashion-conscious drinker and perhaps a potential millstone for winemakers wanting to show that New Zealand is more than just a one-trick oenological pony.

The "pub white" of choice for many in the mid-noughties' backlash against oaky Chardonnay, the spotlight has now rather fallen off Kiwi Sauvignon and since there's plenty of choice for well under a tenner, I wonder what moving up the price scale to £11.99 gets and whether it's worth it.

The wine is pale in the glass; aromatic and herbaceous straight from the bottle, it has a distinct, pronounced flintiness. It feels hunched and nervy - I like it.

On the palate it has a crystal clear acidity, zesty lemon and lime, a touch of mid-palate sweetness and intense aromas of goosberries, nettles and blackcurrant leaves. It scores highly for varietal fruit expression, whilst behind the crisp acidity, there is a ripeness that is distinctly New World.

Extremely well-made and balanced, initially it does seem a touch expensive for what is quite a straighforward, fruit-driven wine when simply quaffed.

However, with a bit of consideration, the value of the extra pennies shows through in an intense, persistent minerality on both the palate and the finish that you don't generally find for under a tenner, and it rather reminds me of a good Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

However, the minerality is not immediately obvious (as it often is with a Grüner) and it almost feels as if this wine is trying to be two things at the same time - a straighforward ripe, zesty Kiwi SB and a seriously mineral, cool-climate wine - but it does actually do both very well and I suspect with another few months' bottle age, these two sides of its personality may come closer together.

Match the herbaceous notes and acidity of this wine with tuna carpaccio with chili and ginger, mozzarella with tomato, basil and olive oil or grilled aubergines stuffed with rosemary cream cheese.

£11.99 from Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco, Majestic, DrinksDirect.co.uk, Winehouse; provided for review.

Currently on offer at Majestic that apparently brings the price down to £9.59 when purchased with any other kiwi wine.


Jackson Estate - http://www.jacksonestate.co.nz/
Ocado - https://www.ocado.com/
Waitrose - http://www.waitrosewine.com/
Majestic - http://www.majestic.co.uk/
DrinksDirect - http://www.drinksdirect.co.uk/
Winehouse - http://www.winehouse.co.uk/

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