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.