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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > NEW WORLD: Sauvignon Blanc

Winner Details

New World: Sauvignon Blanc


2015: Gold 3 Silver 7 Bronze 14 Commended 19
2014: Gold 7 Silver 12 Bronze 6 Commended 16


Oh dear. The smallest number of places on the Gold List for many years – and a lot of generally irritated tasters made this a year to forget for New World Sauvignon.

While the Varietal Classics: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc category performed well for those wines under £12, there were essentially three problems here. First, Sauvignon is not cheap any more. The days of rafts of sub-£6 wines are long gone. Second, with prices heading northwards, there seems to be a growing attempt by winemakers to create wines of more ambition to justify the price tag, sometimes with a more European-style restraint and sometimes with oak.

Which brings us to the third problem: what, exactly should these wines taste like? Our tasters weren’t, generally, enamoured of the classic in-your-face aromatic styles because they’re all but impossible to match with food. But they recognised that this is precisely what most punters want.

The result: a dog’s dinner of a category, with prices, styles and quality all over the place.

FOOTNOTE: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc costing under £12 ex-VAT can be entered either here or in the relevant Varietal Classics category.

From The Tasting Teams


‘Some of the South African winemakers are clearly on top of it. Others are all over the place. There’s room for sommeliers to experiment here, but tread with care.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘At the cheaper price-points, some of the Kiwis were trying to become more European, with less skin contact and a bit more elegance, but they didn’t all work.’ Michael Harrison, consultant

‘Sauvignon Blanc is like a brand – that’s how the consumers see it. They know what they’re looking for – that typical grassy character.’ Gustavo Medina, Rex Whistler Restaurant

‘From Chile there were a lot of very green, hard wines picked under-ripe and with not much concentration of fruit. Winemakers are storing up trouble if they carry on behaving as if Sauvignon Blanc is always going to sell. People are going to become disenchanted.’ Natasha Hughes MW, team leader

‘A lot of bad winemaking and a lot of under-ripe fruit.’ Gergely Barsi Szabó, Bread Street Kitchen (on Chile)

‘The wines with a touch of oak were much more exciting. When people order Sauvignon Blanc now, they are looking for a typical New Zealand style, but with a hint of oak you are looking at a more serious, much more food-friendly wine.’
Garreth Ferreira, Launceston Place

Award winners

Found 43 wines

New World: Sauvignon Blanc

Cono Sur, Organic, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, San Antonio Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

A white Gold to match Cono Sur's House Red Gold, this is great value and easy drinking. 'My kids would love it!' said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, continuing: 'It's light and delicate, with a soft texture. It's exciting and tastes more expensive than it is.' ‘Combined tropical aromas of passion fruit and guava with herbaceous characteristics of green capsicum and asparagus. The palate is refreshing, with lemony acidity and flavours of passion fruit, asparagus and gooseberry,' said Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels. Back to Jones for the food match of choice: fish and chips.

£4.90 CyT UK

Accolade Wines, Waipara Hills, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

True varietal character made this a stand-out. ‘Simply Sauvignon Blanc,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, continuing: ‘Leafy, bubblegummy flavours, but well balanced and quite subtle in style. Good value.’ ‘Grassy nose, lovely texture and tropical fruit, a clean and pleasant glass,’ added Gustavo Medina of Rex Whistler Restaurant. 'Partner with goats' cheese and beetroot salad,' said Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair.

£8.45 Matthew Clark

Accolade Wines, Drylands, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

A Gold for one of the Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc pioneers. Drylands appealed, with its directness and drinkability. ‘Clear and bright, with ripeness and grassy notes on the nose and a good, mineral-driven palate,’ began consultant Michael Harrison, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW adding: ‘Gloriously scented, honeyed peapods with some appealing residual sugar.’ Match with seafood, sashimi and chicken.

£10.77 Matthew Clark

Anakena, Enco, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Leyda Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Vegetal and grassy with an off-dry, crisp, oily, tangerine palate,’ said Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel, with team leader Martin Lam adding: ‘Very grassy, asparagus nose, crisp and decent wine, good value.’

£5.20 Bottle Green

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Very mineral-driven with a lovely balance and good length,’ began Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, with impressed team leader Angela Reddin adding: ‘Flinty, broken branch aromas with a tight palate. Very individual and rather exceptional.’

£20.96 Hatch Mansfield

Santa Rita, Floresta, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Leyda Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Team leader Martin Lam found this a ‘focused’ example, saying: 'Big fruit ripeness on the nose, palate is luscious, long and refreshing.’ Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering added: ‘Attractive, fruity mouthful, develops nicely with a longish finish, to match a versatile range of foods.’

£14.25 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Cherubino, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Pemberton, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Sweetly oaked, expressive and very clear,’ began team leader Richard Bampfield MW, continuing: ‘Dry, classy, very long with a lovely mid-palate and texture.’ ‘Gun-flint minerality, gooseberry with subtle green pepper notes, well balanced and pleasant,’ added Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place.

£20.54 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

KWV, Laborie, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Very clear colour, aromatic and earthy notes on the nose, with typical lovely gooseberry and yellow cherries on the palate,’ said an impressed Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains. ‘Sappy aromas of laurel leaf and blackcurrant leaf, with a spritzy mouth entry,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£5.57 Bottle Green

Kleine Zalze, Cleefs Classic Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Grassy, mown lawn aromas, dried herbal notes. Good concentration with a lift of passion fruit on the finish, with exceptional length,’ said team leader Angela Reddin, with consultant Chris Wood adding: ‘Hints of smoke on a vegetal, characterful palate.’

£5.49 Hatch Mansfield

Saint Clair, Wairau Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Elegant and restrained on the nose, but powers through to pink grapefruit with stony, savoury minerals,’ said impressed team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, with consultant Michael Harrison highlighting its ‘riper gooseberry and asparagus’ elements.

£16.72 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Nobilo, Icon, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

’Fine balance of green herbs and exotic fruit,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, with consultant Michael Harrison adding: ‘Herbal, greengage nose with soft acids and a good mineral note.’

£12.56 Matthew Clark

Robert Mondavi, Fumé Blanc 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Fresh and zingy on the nose, with savoury character on the palate, well-balanced oak and quite classy in style,’ said Debbie Smith of 21212. ‘Oaked style with a dry, sappy finish. One that can grow on you,’ added team leader Richard Bampfield MW.

£16.02 Matthew Clark

Export Union, Fairway, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Western Cape, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Lovely fruity wine on the nose, great fruit with an almost savoury edge to it, though high acidity,’ said Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains. ‘Citrus and herbal flavours on a fresh, brisk palate,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£4.64 Molson Coors

Volcanes de Chile, Tectonia, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Leyda Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Delicate white flower notes, jasmine on the nose, full and intense with a long finish on the palate, with elegant acidity,’ said Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel, with Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering adding: ‘Soft approach, zingy, clean and lean, with very dry, foodie character.’

£10.00 Stone Vine & Sun

Accolade Wines, Bay of Fires, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Tasmania, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Nice nettle and grassy quality, with hints of asparagus on the palate and an all-round vegetal freshness,’ said Debbie Smith of 21212, with Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place adding: ‘Crisp palate with sweet tropical fruit notes.’

£10.50 Matthew Clark

Indómita, Gran Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Crisp, cool, green, pyrazine style that’s well done, with herbs, citrus notes and a slight fresh coriander touch and gooseberry pie notes,’ said team leader Simon Woods, with Winexponent’s Simon Cassina adding: ‘Nettle, grassy, mineral and fresh with lime tropical fruits and a touch of CO2.’

£6.63 Viña Indómita

Undurraga, Sibaris, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Leyda Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Very ripe, tropical nose, refreshing with good concentration and length on the palate,’ said team leader Martin Lam. ‘A more restrained style, with nice balance of acidity and fruit, versatile food wine,’ added Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.

£10.00 González Byass

Millaman, Estate Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Curicó Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘A typical fruity nose, and palate nicely balanced with grapefruit zest and limey acidity, followed by a good length finish,’ said Sandia Chang of Bubbledogs. ‘Lean, grassy, grapefruit crispness, with intensity and length,’ agreed team leader Natasha Hughes MW.

£6.25 Lanchester Wine Cellars

Alto de Casablanca, Ritual, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Green bell pepper, touch of asparagus vegetal note, with a dash of fresh lemon on the palate keeping it crisp, with a warmth of spice on the finish,’ said Giancarlo Cuccuru of The Gilbert Scott. ‘Rhubarb, easy fleshy style with nice texture,’ added team leader Simon Woods.

£11.35 Alto de Casablanca

Cederberg, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Cederberg, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Aromatic on the nose, with fresh green bean notes and a slightly perlant palate. Refreshing with high acidity,’ said Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains. ‘Flinty, crushed nettle leaf nose and excellent length,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£9.85 Bancroft Wines

Cederberg, Ghost Corner, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Elim, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Clean, fresh meadow aromas, bright lemon/lime, crisp flavours, very fresh and refreshing without overdone pyrazines,’ noted team leader Angela Reddin, with Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners adding: ‘Good zip and verve, with a good note of fruit and balance.’

£13.90 Bancroft Wines

Chocalán, Selección, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Maipo Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Ripe passion fruit and stone fruit nose, with lots of citrus on the palate. A reliable wine,’ said Gergely Barsi Szabó of Bread Street Kitchen, with team leader Natasha Hughes MW adding: ‘Pungent, slightly catty, with some real richness and fruit on the mid-palate, citrus, green pea and nettles. Crisp and well made.’

£6.80 Liberty Wines

Luis Felipe Edwards, Marea, Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Leyda Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Big asparagus aromas, appealing richness on the palate with no over-extraction, lasting well on the finish,’ said Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, with team leader Martin Lam adding: ‘Super-grassy, lifted nose with green pepper notes. Very particular and concentrated.’

£13.30 10 International, Matthew Clark

Brand's Laira, The Laira, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Herbal nose with clear notes of fennel, very scented,’ began team leader Richard Bampfield MW, continuing: ‘High acidity, dry, with a perfumed sweetness.’ ‘Blackcurrant leaf and exotic fruits on the nose, with hints of green pepper on the palate,’ added Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place.

£8.22 Sogrape UK

Concha y Toro, Frontera, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Central Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Invivo, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough , New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Santa Rita, Gran Hacienda, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Central Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Caliterra, Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Central Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Errazuriz, 1870, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Casablanca Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Luis Felipe Edwards, Gran Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Leyda Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Cono Sur, Single Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Casablanca Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£5.70 CyT UK

Omaka Springs, Long White, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough , New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£5.25 Bottle Green

Undurraga, Aliwen, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Leyda Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Giesen, The August 1888, Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£11.60 Ehrmanns Wine

Porta, Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Bío-Bío Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£6.62 Viña dos Andes

Luis Felipe Edwards, Marea, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Leyda Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£14.00 Matthew Clark

Valdivieso, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Central Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£6.86 Bibendum

Valdivieso, Single Valley Lot, Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Leyda Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£9.25 Bibendum

Bisquertt, La Joya, Gran Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£6.39 Molson Coors

Concha y Toro, Terrunyo, Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£8.47 CyT UK

Heirloom Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£9.00 Liberty Wines

Dandelion Vineyards, Wishing Clock of the Adelaide Hills, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£7.50 Liberty Wines

Saint Clair, Pioneer Block 2, Swamp Block, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough , New Zealand

Commended medal winner

 

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