Irish New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Michael Kane's post a while ago gave an all-embracing introduction to Sauvignon Blanc, even including the great sweet wines it can make (Bubble Brothers have one from the Loire Valley, Curious Wines have one from Chile). I'll save the divisive topic of oaked Sauvignons for another day, and make a specific recommendation for one ever-so-very-slightly Irish* Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This is what its makers describe as the "ultra-premium" wine produced by Highfield Estate, who take full advantage of fruit grown in some of the best-situated vineyards around Marlborough to create a Sauvignon Blanc of consistent excellence. Al Soper, pictured here, is in charge of winemaking at Highfield. When he came to Cork last year, he thoroughly impressed us with his utter dedication to producing fabulous wine year after year. The Highfield style has all the vivacious juiciness and aromatic appeal that are associated in particular with Marlborough Sauvignons, but a few months' contact with the wine's yeast lees gives it a depth of flavour and a lingering fullness that justify that "ultra-premium" tag. Fortunately, the price is only a bit premium for such a satisfying bottle. *The Irish connexion is that the name Highfield came to New Zealand from Co. Galway with the Walshes, who bought the estate and began farming in Marlborough in 1935. Their son made the first attempts at growing vines and at winemaking there during the 1970s, before the purchase of farm and winery by the present owners twenty years ago.