Old vs. New: Sauvignon Blanc

A few weeks ago, we organized a wine appreciation night for a client where the theme revolved around comparing famously consumed grape varietals in the Philippines from the Old World (Europe) and New World (not in Europe).

It was such a gratifying experience being able to taste pioneer winemaking regions, known as the traditional winemaking regions that have been making wine for thousands of years, against regions that did not start making wine for more than a few hundred years ago.

This night, we compared 3 popular grapes – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz, and had a blast exchanging thoughts and preferences about each style. I will break this down into 3 different entries, focusing on one comparison each – mainly so as not to bore you!

Sauvignon Blanc

This is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It is often a crowd favorite among white wine options due to its style. One can expect a range of flavors depending on where it’s from. A combination of citrus (kiwi, lemon, lime), more mineral (think stones, rocks, chalk – or the smell of the wet pavement after a rain) and vegetable notes vegetable notes (green bell pepper, basil, celery, lemongrass, cut grass) often describe this wine. It is generally crisp with sometimes a tart acidity that makes it such a fresh beverage option to beat the heat.

On this wine appreciation class, we compared a Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley in France and Marlborough, New Zealand.

The Loire Valley in France is world famous for its white wines mainly from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. As a wine style, the region is capable of producing fresh, young white wines that can age beautifully and turn its young, pale yellow color to a more golden one. With age, a roundness in the structure emerges, where the acidity takes a more backseat role.

Ideally, white wines need to be consumed within 3-4 years (current year minus the year or vintage published on the bottle) from production to ensure freshness and optimal quality for optimal enjoyment. After that, the wine can still definitely be consumed, but you will already notice less freshness, overripeness that the winemaker did not intend to be part of the wine’s characteristics. But white wine from the Loire Valley, depending on the producer especially, can age beyond ideal white wine drinking period.

This is exactly what Ampelidae Le S 2008 is all about. Already a 9 year old white wine today, there was still freshness to it. But with the acidity taking a more backseat role, the wine was rounder, somewhat creamier, where the fruit notes were more pronounced not being outshone by the crispness of a young white.

Just a bit more on this white, Ampelidae is a brand that focuses on being 100% organic and vegan. So if you’re on a strict vegan diet, this is a great white wine without breaking the rules!

New Zealand is also world famous for its white wine, albeit with a shorter history in winemaking than France. Due to its cold climate, the white wines produced have good structure, are fresh and crisp and best consumed within the ideal white wine consumption period (3-4 years). I have not yet encountered a Sauv Blanc from NZ that was meant to age, but I’m definitely curious to find one soon!

Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc 2015 showed much more crispness and lightness than the Loire white. There were vibrant fruit notes, mild citrus, more peach, nectarine and guava fruits. Many people think it’s sweet, but it is actually a dry white wine (dry = not sweet in winespeak). The fruit notes, especially the type of fruits that come out make it seem like it is sweet, but it really isn’t!

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Many of our guests prefer the New Zealand Sauv Blanc for those reasons.

My verdict: Ampelidae Le S.

Its complexity from the slight aging, and the evident freshness coming from a 9 year old white wine continues to intrigue me. It’s a kind of white though that would go better with some food, as compared to the Allan Scott Sauv Blanc that I can drink like water #justlikemymomma !

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