Screwcap preserves freshness
As I mentioned the other day, we're off on a short vacation in Florida; but rather than putting The 30 Second Wine Advisor on vacation, I'm sending out a short edition on a casual time table. Monday's edition, too, may arrive off schedule and a bit condensed; then we'll hope to return to a normal schedule.
For today, let's dive straight into a tasting note, reporting on an exceptionally fresh New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Allan Scott, a producer in the Marlborough region whose wines have impressed me in the past.
This is one of the first wines of the 2004 vintage I've tried, except for Beaujolais Nouveau. Remember that seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so their wine vintages arrive in March and April.
Like a growing number of New Zealand whites (and a few reds), this bottle was secured with a high-tech metal screw cap, not a cork. While a few of the more conservative experts are still uncertain about the use of screw caps for long-term storage, there's little doubt that a quality screwcap does a remarkable job of preserving freshness in young wine. This one untwisted to reveal a crisp and snappy white wine that tastes almost as fresh as just-crushed grape juice.
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Allan Scott 2004 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99)
This wine appears transparent, almost watery clear in the glass, but it shows a bright brassy glint when you hold it up to the light. Citric grapefruit and lemon-lime show on the nose and palate, crisp and dry, tart fresh-fruit acidity surrounding snappy citrus fruit, lemon-lime and a whiff of tangerine. Delicious, not least because its youthful freshness makes it as appealing as natural grape juice. U.S. importer: Uniqco, Huntsville, Ala. (Dec. 3, 2004)
FOOD MATCH: A natural match with seafood; couldn't ask for a better pairing with the Adriatic-style scallop and shrimp pasta featured in yesterday's Wine Advisor FoodLetter.
VALUE: With big-name Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc including the sought-after Cloudy Bay rising past the $20 point, it's hard to quibble with a mid-teens price for an example this fresh and good.
WHEN TO DRINK: Its freshness is so appealing that I'd be tempted to drink it up in coming months; but quality NZ Sauvignon Blanc can keep several years under good cellar conditions, and some aficionadoes like it with a bit of age.
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Friday, Dec. 10, 2004