What did we learn from this month's tasting? That we're not great at determining where in the world a Sauvignon Blanc comes from. While some of us got a few right the last time we did this, for the most part we didn't do well this time. Andy was the champion identifier, with four out of the six correct, and Ali correctly detecting the Chilean wine. This night, the brown bag won.
Still, these were all tasty wines, and though the Sancerre didn't shout its origin, we didn't find a bottle that we wouldn't want to drink again. Plus, the winner of the night was a steal at only $11.
First Place: Dourthe Sauvignon Blanc La Grande Cuvee 2015 (Bordeaux). A hint of cat's pee on the nose, plus honeysuckle, pear, preserved lemon, and some minerality. Andy noted that "it's like a body odor, but a pleasant odor." Zippy in the mouth, and reminiscent of lemon peel, Pez candy and limes. There's an evolution here, with bright acidity, minerality on front, then lemon cream on back of palate. Mouthwatering and almost on the edge of tart. David felt that it was like a "squeeze of lemon juice." The most complete of the night, though not as complex as the night went on, but would be great on its own. Most people thought this was the Sancerre. The clear winner, with a maximum 36 points. Kristin's bottle. About $11.
Second Place: Three Brooms Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Marlborough). Tasters noted that this had a dark profile to the nose, with notions of weeds, and jarred peppers. Holly noticed "tomato plants, but not tomato." Green bell peppers in the mouth, with a little citrus on the finish, like tangerines. Holly felt that "it's a dirty martini kind of briney juice", with Michael finding a "slightly bitter aftertaste". Ali described it as "bitter in the front, tart in the back .. a wine mullet." Holly concluded that "I don't love it, but I could drink the whole bottle of it." Continues to be tasty and fun, though not super complex, but fun. Went well with food. Received 17 points. Holly's bottle. About $16.
Third Place: Shug Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Sonoma Coast). Bright and grassy, with scents of gooseberries, honey, green pear, and honeydew. Holly was reminded of "potatoes in my grandmother's house." Zippy gooseberry and pear flavors, but was also more tropical than most of the others, suggestive of mango and passionfruit, plus some honey. Not tiring to drink. Received 16 points. Michael's Bottle. Abut $20.
Leyda Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Leyda Valley). Lots of green pepper scents, not unlike a jalapeno pepper, plus a celery note and freshly mowed lawn. David felt that it "smells hot, like it'll burn." Pleasant in the mouth, citrusy (mostly limes and lemons), and a little tropical fruit on finish. With time, more woodsy, earthy notes emerged. Kristin was reminded of "Fruit Stripes gum on the finish", with Holly finding "pickle juice with sugar in it." One taster decided that "Peter Piper has definitely made a trip here." Received 11 points. David's bottle. About $12.
Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc Bayten 2015 (Constantia). Also tasted at the second South African Free-For-All, it offered aromas of bell peppers and tomatoes. David noted "green jalapeno", while Ali detected "moldy bouquet of generic flowers." Some dust, and white flower notes. Andy was reminded of a "small electrical fire." Orange pith flavors that had a little more intensity and a nicely balanced mid-palate. Had a bright tartness to it, like orange seltzer, but also fungus, oil, and forest floor. Received 4 points. Andy's bottle. About $16.
Domaine Gueneau Sancerre Les Griottes 2016. A bit closed, but tasters found scents of cleanser, soap, and chalk. Andy was reminded of "laundry on the line" and felt that it was "kind of giving your nose the finger." Ali noted that "it's got a little stomach acid." This didn't offer much and was unexciting and almost bland. Tasted manufactured, or like it was inexpensive Pinot Grigio. Kristin felt that it was "fine, but a little boring", and that it "gets less offensive the more you drink it, but I'm ignoring it." No points. Ali's bottle. About $27.