New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs – all the same? Some colleagues of mine suggest that New Zealand (Marlborough at least) are interchangeable. The suggestion goes that the flavor profile is so similar in these increasingly easily available NZ SBs, that one becomes another and the brand and winemaker do not matter – therefore, unless one wants to part with nearly $30 for the upper end Cloudy Bay Sauvingon Blanc, the wine that helped put Marlborough on the SB wine map, the less expensive the better in this category.
Currently for sale in the State of Pennsylvania are two discounted Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs – one from Omaka and one from Framingham. Each is from 2009 vintage and each are widely available. But after tasting them, I suggest that while there are some similarities, the wines are clearly NOT interchangeable but rather have their own characteristics.
Omaka Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($8.99 in PA) Citrus nose, immediately tart and snappy with upfront grapefruit and lemon/lime flavors over top of an undercurrent of tropical fruits and grassiness. The blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc is joined by 10% Semillon which adds a brightness to the wine. The finish is taught and light, with a slight minerality that broadens as the wine warms. A great value at release, made even better at a lower price.
Framingham Marlborough NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($11.99 in PA) Nose is soft and lightly tropical. Mouthfeel is surprisingly supple and richer than expected. Flavors are bursting with tropical fruits followed by grapefruit and grapefruit pith. Finish has length and depth with typical minerality. Overall a nicely balanced wine and great value.