NZ SB: So Familiar, So Delicious

I thrive on variety. I’m obsessed with new experiences. I want to visit all the countries on Earth (at 115 now) I want to be conversant in all the major languages (at 6 now). So when it comes to wine, it’s no surprise that I prefer to try something new to something I’ve had before. The world of wine is huge, after all.

This bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, was a gift bottle from our 4th “WineKnow” tasting. I wouldn’t have bought this bottle myself. Not because it isn’t excellent, but because I’ve had it so, so many times. When we lived in Australia, our go-to Sauvignon Blancs from NZ were Kim Crawford, Montana (Brancott), Nautilus and the now ubiquitous Cloudy Bay.

Was there a hole in the bottle? It sure got empty fast!

I sighed after swallowing the first gulp of the Kim Crawford SB. Like Proust’s famous madeleines, this wine whooshed me back in time. Vivid as yesterday, I remember sitting on our daybed in the sunroom on Yanko Ave, looking at the waves crashing on Bronte Beach and guzzling one or two NZ SBs while we read travel magazines and planned our 2.5-year round-the-world trip.

Everybody who loves wine knows the New Zealand “style” of SB: rasping acidity, tropical and citrus fruit flavors (unmistakable passion fruit and pineapple) at one end and thirst-slaking “green” flavors (cut grass, bell pepper, lime zest, and yes, cat pee) at the other end. So successful has this NZ SB flavor profile become that many of the “New World” winemakers strive to emulate it.

As a result, if I served a wine “beginner” a glass of good Sancerre and only told them that it was Sauvignon Blanc, I bet a lot of them would be disappointed. “I’ve had a lot better,” I could imagine them saying, recalling tropical abundance and tingling acidity.

Back to the Kim Crawford. My wife had a glass, and I had two. We both loved it. The next afternoon, I had two more glasses and it still tasted delicious. Considering the very affordable price (around $20) I must remember that in my quest for the “new”, it’s important sometimes to reach backward and refresh memories with a bottle of an old favorite.