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South Africa takes on Washington – and wins!

August 24, 2006

There has been plenty of wine lately. I brought back some great bottles from BC (and I have a rant about the BC retail market too). But time is in short supply as my day job gets busier and busier. These tasting notes should (ahem) ‘wet’ your appetites for more – which will follow soon.

Franschhoek Vineyards ‘Anvil’ Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa, 2005)

Wow. Tasting notes for a South African Sauvignon Blanc. Who woulda thunk it? This is a well-priced and very tasty wine from a company apparently in the midst of reinventing itself. This wine didn’t appear on their website, but I’m sure it’s just their regular Sauvignon Blanc packaged for the North American market. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

And as for the wine itself, it’s your typical South African Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of acidity, lots of fruit and a nice mineral wash in the background. This is the reason why South Africa is a better choice than New Zealand in the under $15 category (and the $15-20 category too). Before you ask, no, it wasn’t as good as Fish Hoek is. But I loved it anyways. It was great on its own, great with a fresh salad and just as good with the brutally hot chipolte-fuelled BBQ burritos that we concocted on Monday.

For $11ish, you could do a lot worse than this. More information is available from their Canadian distributor. And I’m sure that I’d make good wine too if I got to work in a place as beautiful as Franschhoek (check out that scenery).

It’s available at the Kenaston Wine Market. I’m not sure if it’s exclusive to them or if other private stores carry it too.

Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, 2004)

This wine was a bit disappointing. I tried the Snoqualmie Syrah at the Winnipeg Wine Festival and loved it. So when I saw this wine on the shelf at the Kenaston Wine Market (not sure if it’s available elsewhere), I had to pick it up. At $14.95, it seemed like a good deal for a Washington State wine, and I’m always ready to try a new Sauvignon Blanc.

Not sure, but I do believe that Snoqualmie is owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle, although their website doesn’t advertise it. My Spidey sense tells me that CSM is involved, due to the web address on this tasting sheet.

Enough conspiracy theories. How was the wine? I guess disappointing would be the nicest way to put it. It’s well-made but the taste and texture was more in line with some of the bigger, riper Sauvignon Blancs coming out of California. It was aged on its lees, which gave it a creamier texture and riper taste than I expected.

The nose was full and ripe, and I swear I could pick out peaches in there. In the mouth, it was rich and creamy without too much acidity. More fruit (cantaloupe?), but no crispness. It was good, but not for me. I own my bias here. I really do prefer crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blancs and this didn’t fit the bill at all. If anything, it reminded me of a good (if light) Pinot Gris.

So I’ll pass on this in the future. But if you’re a Chardonnay fan looking for something different without straying too far afield, this would be a nice wine to try.

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