Browse Tag


Rocky Vivian

Stoneleigh 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Vivid pineapple, ripe green apple, grass. Sour plum wine on the finish. Weird. (3/09)

Matua-t a time

Matua Valley 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Gooseberry, a little papaya, and a Styrofoam finish (which is, blessedly, short). (3/09)


Nobilo “Regional Collection” 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Clean. Watery. Green and yellow citrus rinds, plus grapefruit. Underripe and dilute. (3/09)


Babich 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Sugared apple, pineapple. A goofy toy wine, not to be taken seriously. (3/09)

First names

Allan Scott 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Papery. Qualitatively, somewhere between innocuous and awful. (3/09)


Monkey Bay 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Light green pepper, asparagus, sweet greenness continues on the finish. A diagonal wine. Ultimately insignificant. (3/09)


[vineyard]Dog Point 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Grass and ground-crystal minerality. Modern strength paired with traditional restraint. Suggestions of yellow-green fruit, bold but never aggressive. There’s a lot to like about this wine, and people who don’t think they like Marlborough sauvignon should probably give this a try. (3/09)

Private dancer

[vineyard]Villa Maria “Private Bin” 2007 Riesling (Marlborough) – As the years have passed and the need to shave margins to maintain a price point on the incredibly popular “Private Bin” sauvignon blanc have slowly chipped away at the value proposition of that wine, this has become Villa Maria’s secret budget star. No, it won’t put you off your Ürziger Würzgarten (or even your Pegasus Bay), but it will bring you exactly what the grape promises: clear light shone on rock, pristine apple, a nice bite of acidity, and a little fillip of stony/acidic bitterness on the finish. It’s simple and direct, and one could – and frequently will – do far, far worse. (3/09)

Unidentified flying wine

[bottle]Bonny Doon 2004 “Le Cigare Volant” (California) – 38% grenache, 35% syrah, 12% mourvèdre, 8% carignan, 7% cinsault. Surprisingly Rhônish. Meat, underbrush, herbs, and sap. Juicy and approachable, but very well-knit. I like this a lot, less because the elements are superior than because the wine carries itself with palpable confidence. (9/08)


Bonny Doon 2004 Recioto of Barbera (Monterey County) – 14.5% alcohol, 7.2% grams residual sugar, 500 ml bottle. The nose here is lovely – full of crushed raisins – despite the bottle being open for twenty-four hours. This probably explains the bit of fade to the palate and a perimeter that’s more enticing than the center, but the wine retains a certain crispness and edge, with apple-toned acidity. More remarkably, this lacks the persistent (and to me, a sensitive, often deal-breaking) flaw of recioto-styled wines: volatile acidity. If there’s any here, it’s below my threshold of detection…and that threshold is legendarily low. Nicely done. (9/08)