Oops! I seem to have opened next year's bottle…

The theme for tonight's World of Wine tasting was balance, so of course we had to have some wines which are out of wack somehow or other. An easy call is a young wine from tannic grapes, especially one which is super-extracted: the kind of bottle which still needs a few months or a couple of years to let the tannins calm down. The Sur de los Andes Winemaker's Selection Malbec ('05, cork) is just the thing, with the added advantage of having loads of interesting flavours to it.

When I opened it I wondered if it was faulty, since it seemed to smell of fish food, but then two of my fellow tasters found similar aromas (seaweed, fish). My note also says, "inky", and "octopus", but then it also says "spice", "gingerbread", and "Yeehaw!".

It scores 4+, excellent. If I have the willpower, I expect it might turn into a five-pointer by 02009.


World Wide Wine - Sauvignon Blanc

By good luck, I am hosting a series of six tastings with the aim of whizzing round the main grapes / countries / regions / styles of wine. So it seemed to me that a good start would be with Sauvignon Blanc from France, New Zealand, and South Africa: strongly contrasting styles, a very distinctive flavour, and all sure to be good wines.

First up was the dry, zingy, lovely, lively Christian Salmon Sancerre ('06, cork). The nose was quietly green, perhaps peppery, and the palate was full of fantastic lemon, lime and sorbet flavours. Excellent, well worth a 4.

De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc ('06, stelvin) seemed to be a little smoky to me, along with lovely green notes (green beans, definitely). The palate was light - lighter than the Sancerre - with a long sour finish, but without the hint of root ginger I sometimes find in South African Sauvignon. Nevertheless, another excellent, 4+.

The Kiwi candidate was Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc ('07, stelvin). I loved the strong passionfruit nose, and the tropical fruit flavours on the palate. It seemed to me to be softer - less acidic - than either the French or South African wines. Another excellent, 4.

Three very different styles of Sauvignon, and all worth drinking. The Sancerre came out favourite with the World of Wine tasters, but only by a nose, so to speak.