A tale of two relative newcomers today, both with great (but subtly different) stories to tell.
From at least the century before last, the landward end of France’s Loire Valley was the “go to” place for quality sauvignon blanc.
Then in the 1970’s, along came New Zealand.
They wondered whether sheep grazing land made redundant by the UK joining the (then) Common Market might support grapes.
The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
Now, fast forward to this century to see a significant change in another country.
Reconstructing the Romanian wine industry after the Soviet Union’s collapse precipitated a strategic change.
As well as the Bordeaux style wines Eastern Europe previously exported, pinot noir became a focus.
Growing conditions in Romania suggested that would be a good idea; so did that variety’s increasing prices elsewhere.
While that old “rest is …” cliché doesn’t apply yet, sales and quality are pointing very much the right way.
So, try this pair of tasty examples from those countries.
In the usual way, pictures – and sometimes hyperlinks – are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
First, then, that New Zealand example.
2022 Extra Special Marlbororough Sauvignon Blanc (£7 – instead of £8.75 until 4 October – at Asda and 12.5% abv):
Fifty years ago Marlborough sauvignon blanc was unknown, but it emerged precisely when white wine drinkers were seeking something different.
Its wines’ boldness, intensity and consistent standard met their needs perfectly and, as this example confirms, still does.
Textured but with tropical fruit aromas, it delivers concentrated apple and peach flavours supported by sherbet and grapefruit acidity.
Those constituents mingle agreeably with touches of green pepper and lemongrass that, together, lead into a long finish.
NB:- Although stock seems to be reducing online, it should still be available in many physical stores.
Now, we switch to Eastern Europe.
2021 Zana Pinot Noir £7 instead of £8.25 until 17 October at Sainsbury’s and also 12.5%):
Another brilliant Romania pinot noir, and one that is a steal at its current, discounted, price.
That country is fast becoming the approachable and affordable option for pinot enthusiasts.
Reasons for this include their wine’s vibrancy, attractive fruit “taste-alikes” and – above all – terrific value,
Here, inviting fruit aromas lead into smooth cherry, loganberry and blood orange flavours accompanied by good acidity – but little tannin.
Suggestions of clove and chocolate complete the picture, as does a pleasing overall sense of ripeness.
See you again on Thursday when we consider how to react to surging wine prices.
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