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Marlborough and Sancerre

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Dan Smothergill

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Marlborough and Sancerre

by Dan Smothergill » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:37 pm

An experience today at a local wineshop left me thinking, and might be of some general interest. The shop staff had had a tasting of some 20 New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and 10 Sancerres, all under $15. The top choice, a surprise according to the report, was a Saint Clair from New Zealand. I was intrigued enough to trek on down, really not too much a chore, to pick up a bottle.

I got talking there with one of the staff and said that it must have been hard to compare such different styles of Sauvignon Blanc. He kind of agreed and said that the Sancerres might have done better with food, but that without it the New Zealands really stood out. That got me thinking about the validity of such a test, and more generally about the difference between wine in cultures in which it typically is consumed with food and those in which wine ismore or less a stand alone. In other words, is it really sensible to compare a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a Sancerre? Or are the two products of such different cultures that they are more like apples and oranges? By the way, the St. Clair really is terrific. About $14.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Howie Hart » Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:11 am

Tasting and judging wine with food vs. without food is an interesting paradox. A while ago, while visiting my sister in Maine, I supplied several wines to see which matched up best with a lobster dinner. Here is a link:

http://www.wineloverspage.com/user_subm ... 78061.html

A very food friendly wine will often be overlooked in a wine competition whereas a gold medal wine may not be very food friendly at all. Last Fall I helped organize a "Holiday Wine Tasting" as a fund raiser. Several different wines were each paired with a small portion of different holiday foods and those who attended, mostly non-geeks, were amazed at how well the painings were with wines they never had before. I've been asked to help out again this year, as it may become an annual event.
Wine, on its own, can be appreciated, but wine with food and friends is wonderful. :wink:
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Thomas

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Thomas » Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:28 am

Dan,

You hit on a subject that is dear to me. Wine without food is like a quote without context.
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Niki (Dayton OH)

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Niki (Dayton OH) » Sat Jul 01, 2006 3:17 pm

Dan

I love both NZ SB and Sancerre, but I agree comparing them without food really isn't fair to either. My first love is Italian wine, and I've always found that the more traditional wines show much better with food (which is why they're the ones I like best!) And, actually, I've found a few food matches where the exuberant fruit in the Marlborough SBs made a better match than the more minerally Sancerre. Like everything, it depends :)
Cheers,

Niki
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James Roscoe

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by James Roscoe » Sat Jul 01, 2006 5:30 pm

Thomas wrote:Dan,

You hit on a subject that is dear to me. Wine without food is like a quote without context.


Wine should be considered like salt and pepper. Infact, I find myself using less salt now that I am drinking wine with my meals. My doctor approves!
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Bob Ross

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Bob Ross » Sat Jul 01, 2006 5:37 pm

More and more I find myself liking the same wine with my meal and then the second glass by itself later. Somehow, each method of tasting has it's own rewards -- depending on the wine of course.

And, as a corollary, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to compare one wine with another. Somehow, it doesn't seem to give any of the wines a fair chance.

I suppose my preferences will change -- I had great fun reading over my notes of some of the massive wine tastings I've taken part in when putting together a response to the Viognier. But at the moment a couple of hours with and without food with the same wine is very rewarding.

Regards, Bob
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Sue Courtney

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Sue Courtney » Sat Jul 01, 2006 8:19 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:By the way, the St. Clair really is terrific. About $14.

You hit the nail on the head there Dan - Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005 was my 'Sauvignon Blanc of the Year' last year and it's still delicious.
The beauty of good NZ Sauvignon Blanc is that it hits the spot without food at the right time of the day yet can be matched to a growing number of food styles - some favourites are grilled snapper, oysters, tomato and basil dishes, capsicum, bean and asparagus dishes, fennel, herb-laced salads or Chinese sweet and sour - and it's simply great to match to summer fare.
BTW - I've had a couple of young Sancerres that seem more like Marlborough now than they did 10 years ago. I think some Sancerre prodcuers have changed their winegrowing and winemaking regimes.
Cheers,
Sue
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Dan Smothergill

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Dan Smothergill » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:29 pm

Last night our AWS chapter had a tasting of 2005 Sauvignon Blancs from all over the world. The St. Clair was the clear favorite, with the much more expensive Cloudy Bay a distant second.
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David Creighton

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by David Creighton » Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:45 am

not much good available from sancerre anymore at under $15. the $$$ is really low.
david creighton
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Dan Smothergill

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Dan Smothergill » Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:43 pm

not much good available from sancerre anymore at under $15. the $$$ is really low.


Good point David. Where did they ever get 10 Sancerres for under $15? I might have misunderstood that part.

At our AWS tasting the other night there was an '05 Roger et Didier Raimbault Sancerre ($19). It was wonderfully subtle and minerally with a long finish, and very well balanced. I liked it better than any of the other SBs.
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Sam Platt

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Re: Marlborough and Sancerre

by Sam Platt » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:58 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:I got talking there with one of the staff and said that it must have been hard to compare such different styles of Sauvignon Blanc.

Dan, You raise a good point. I love NZ SB, but am not a fan of Sancerre. Of the various style comparisons for wines made from the same grape, those two seem the most different to my palate. Perhaps I am erring in expecting a similar experience from those wines.
Sam

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