Monday night, I ran a seminar on blind tasting for the Wharton Wine Club of the University of Pennsylvania. We focused on strategies for identifying both telltale characteristics of classic grape varieties, as well as differences between national and regional styles. For the first flight--a comparison of Sauvignon Blancs--we tasted an excellent 2011 Pouilly-Fume from Henri Bourgeois (the "Porte de l’Abbaye" bottling) and the always delicious Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, this one from 2012. The latter, as it does vintage after vintage, demonstrated exactly what consumers find so appealing about the wines from Kim Crawford in particular and New Zealand in general: Expressiveness, balance, exuberance, and a true sense of varietal accuracy. My notes on that one, as well as the 2011 Pinot Noir, are below.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, NZ
Aromatic green bell pepper and fresh-cut grass, ripe, expressive grapefruit, lime, melon, and a hint of spice define the nose and lead to bright, sweetly assertive flavors of grapefruit, key lime pie, peppercorn spice, and crunchy green apple. Excellent drive, concentration, and structure. Drink now.
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2011, Marlborough, NZ
A beautiful strawberry-hued transparency presages aromas of cherry, spice, a hint of cola, and a lovely whiff of rose petals. On the palate, flavors of raspberry and brambly berry fruits are joined by garrigue and black pepper that finish with subtle vanilla. Nice acid, elegant texture, and thoroughly enjoyable. Lovely wine, and a solid value, as always.