April 25, 2008

Vergelegen "Sauvignon Blanc Reserve" 2006

Sauvignon Blanc / South Africa
$19-$24 / 92 points

OK, those of you who have been loyal readers of my reviews already know I am not a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc. For me, choosing Sauvignon Blanc is boring. Picture going into a wonderful bakery with a shelf full of artisanal bread, and instead of buying a beautiful Rye or Pumpernickel you buy white "Wonder Bread". I know, many of you that are fans of Sauvignon Blanc have just gasped. It is one of the more popular white wines in the world. Well, not for me.

I was invited to taste two different styles of Sauvignon Blanc with some wine friends. We were going to compare two South African Sauvignon Blancs with distinctly different styles. We tasted side by side and I expected my notes to reflect the same adjectives that always are placed in my Sauvignon Blanc reviews. Crisp, Tart, Citrus....you know the words. After a while, the wines and reviews for Sauvignon Blanc all blend together.

Well, yesterday one of the wines surprised me. Although it still had the same adjectives for nose and flavours, there was one adjective that I cannot ever remember using as a descriptor. INTENSE!

Vergelegen is located in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. About 45 minutes from Capetown, this area is a perfect micro climate for Sauvignon Blanc. Wines from this region have been making astounding progress in increasing market share in the United States. Quality is the main reason, and reasonable prices put them over the top.

Vergelegen, which means "Location Far Away", is an idyllic setting. Gardens and restored mansions fill the property. Vineyards were engineered long ago to utilize gravity for water distribution. This illustrates the pains and planning that went into making this property successful. The wine reflects this dedication to quality.

This wine poured a light straw color and immediately the aromas were leaping from the glass. Grapefruit, Grass, White Flowers and some Green Pepper/Herb were all evident. The flavors were Grapefruit Rind, Flint, Guava, Fig and Mineral. The Grapefruit component was intense. This is NOT a typical Sauvignon Blanc. This is a Sauvignon Blanc with a flavour profile on steroids.

All of you are not going to like this wine. Many of you are going to send me e-mails telling me I am out of my mind. What I have found over the last few years is that many of you DO have a similar palate to mine. If this is the case, it is worth finding this wine and giving it a try. I am very curious to see what you have to say.

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