Took a chance on this bottle of ‘Sovee Bee’ as it was on offer at Sainsburys, my wife and daughter tend to like most wines from New Zealand as do I and the fact that it was only £5 on offer it found its way into my shopping basket along with the few groceries I only went in store for in the first place.
‘Sovee Bee’ as regular readers will know is what my daughter calls Sauvignon Blanc and as much as I try not to I often end up finding myself referring to it in the same slightly annoying but at the same time slightly addictive way.
The name Kauri refers to the tallest tree found in the north island of New Zealand sometimes reaching up to 50m high.
Before I get into the review a quick fact about Hawkes Bay New Zealand, which is situated along the east coast of the north Island, it was given its name by Captain James Cook in honour of Admiral Edward Hawke who defeated the French at the battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759.
Anyway, so much for the history lesson, what’s the wine like to drink ? well, to be honest not as good as I thought it might be considering it had a ‘International Wine Challenge’ award plastered on the side of the bottle.
Not much in the way of aromas, a fairly muted nose with a whiff of citrus and a little cut grass. Taste wise, again a little disappointing, a bit more tropical than the nose suggested and some smokiness but it had a slightly bitter finish.
Far less intense than a lot of Marlborough Sovees (sorry !), nothing to really dislike but then again nothing to recommend it, for £5 it’s OK, not sure I’d buy it a full price.
My Rating 5.5/10 Corks
Sainsburys around £8
When I first came across this bottle at a Majestic tasting my initial thought was it’s just another celebrity endorsed mass produced bottle of plonk, well, I couldn’t have been more wrong, this was a sheer delight and generally well received by everyone who tasted it.
Viewers of Graham Norton’s chat show will normally see him within reach of a very large glass of white wine in which his tipple of choice is normally Sauvignon Blanc. So with the help of guys from Invivo, Co founder Tim Lightbourne and winemaker Rob Cameron who transported 6 different samples of Sauvignon Blanc from their New Zealand Marlborough growers to London where Graham Norton joined up and helped in the blending process creating his very own bottle.
The label itself looked strange at first until you realise that it is actually quite clever with the emphasis on the GN (Graham Norton) and it definitely stands out.
In the glass the aromatic aromas hit you straight way filling the room with tropical fruits, grass and passion-fruit, stick your nose in the glass it will make your eyes water it’s so intense. On first sip this tasted fresh and zingy, the tropical fruits are evident especially passion-fruit along with sharp limes and lemons. A little hint of freshly cut grass and a little herby thing going on in the background make this a refreshingly delicious glass of wine and at £8.99 bit of a bargain I’d say !
Now my wife and daughter are big ‘Sovvy Bee’ fans especially from New Zealand and they both liked this a lot and I must admit I enjoyed it and I’d say it’s probably one of the better Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted recently, Nice one Graham !.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
£8.99 on Multi buy at Majestic
Hands up all those people who will break out a bottle of dessert wine at the end of a meal to accompany pudding, I guess if I look around there would probably not be many arms in the air but if you haven’t tried it then you are missing out on a real treat.
On a lovely spring evening, eating al fresco with friends I brought out this bottle of dessert wine to accompany a variety of sweet puddings. Many of them had not tried dessert wine before but were all willing to give it a go, It was also a chance to try out my recently bought dessert wine glasses
The bottle in question was the Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest 2011. I had this bottle chilling in the fridge all day.
When poured it was darkish gold in colour, heady aromas of peach, apricot, mangoes and something herbal. For a sweet wine this was not cloying or sickly, tasting of fresh tropical fruits which burst in the mouth, including apricots, peaches and oranges.
Slightly sweeter than the apricot tart and strawberry cheesecake ice cream we were eating this just seemed to pair perfectly and enjoyed by all who tried it.
So if you haven’t tried dessert wine before, go on treat yourself you won’t be disappointed, this is stunning !
My rating 8.5/10 corks
Various outlets around £13
New Zealand 12.5%
With the temperatures soaring here in the UK what better way to relax and cool down than sitting in the shade of a Gazebo, eating barbecue food and drinking a chilled glass or two of this very nice New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
I Love Marlborough wines especially anything from Brancott Estate and this bottle which is produced by them is up there amongst my favourite Sauvignon Blancs. I was first introduced to Stoneleigh by Brancott Estates chief winemaker Patrick Materman himself at a tasting a while ago and whilst sampling his own range he asked me to try the Stoneleigh and after that initial sip I was totally won over by it.
When poured it’s a lovely straw like colour with a slight green tinge. On the nose it’s typically New world and typically New Zealand, rich tropical fruits mixed with sharp citrus aromas along with damp grass and herbs.
The taste is where this wine really shines, bright fresh and tangy with flavours of peaches, Lychees and melon but with a bracing backdrop of lemons and limes giving it a mouth-watering acidity along with lots of minerality.
Fantastic summer drink, great to drink on its own or with chicken, seafood, it would even go well with Asian food.
If you enjoy a bright, fresh, acidic, minerally wine with bags of flavour you won’t go far wrong with this, becoming a favourite in our household especially with my daughter (who is a bit fussy with her wine, don’t tell her I said that though !)
My Rating 8.5/10 Corks
Variuos outlets around £9
New Zealand 14%
Although Sauvignon Blanc is perhaps not my favourite white wine, if I had to pick a SB to take to a desert Island this would be it.
I’m a big fan of Brancott Estate wines in general, from their entry levels right the way through to their premium range including the excellent if expensive ‘Chosen Rows’ Sauvignon Blanc which I have only sampled at tastings but it is a wine in my opinion that takes SB’s to a new level (maybe one day I’ll treat myself to a bottle).
Back to this wine, as you can see from the picture in the glass it’s a bright, clear colour with a hint of green. Aromas literally leap from the glass before getting your nose anywhere near it, unmistakably New Zealand with tropical fruits and wet grass but what really stands out is asparagus it dominates the nose in a big way.
Taste wise it’s dry, crisp but with a restrained acidity, full of gooseberries, grapefruit and tropical fruits, really rich in density. The asparagus disappears leaving a more minerally finish which is incredibly long and satisfying.
Drunk this wine many times and it always delivers, wonderful aromas and a crisp fresh taste, as I said it’s one of my favourite Sauvignon Blancs even at £13 a bottle well worth the price.
My Rating 8.5/10 Corks
Various around £13
In my last review I tasted the Aldi Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir which I picked up at an incredible price of £4.39, at the same time I picked up a couple of bottles of their Exquisite collection New Zealand Pinot Noir for £6.99.
After enjoying the cheaper French Pinot with a Lamb dinner I decided to follow-up with the slightly more expensive New Zealand version paired with roast pork to see which one came out on top. It turned out to be surprisingly harder than I thought with both wines, especially for the price holding their own but in very different ways.
The New Zealand Pinot compared to the French was very much lighter in colour, (almost read a book through the wine) and straight away the aroma was much more noticeable than the French which was fairly muted. Cherries, raspberries and to a lesser extent strawberries were all there with an almost red fruit pastilles smell (the one everyone goes for in the packet). The French aroma was almost fruitless with savoury and smoke dominant.
Taste wise again completely different, the French was rustic, unmistakably French, pretty sweet but with a smokey wood flavour. Although you could taste red fruits it wasn’t a full on fruitiness of the New Zealand, this was bright a very fruity with cherries, strawberries but still with a whiff of smoke and hint of savouriness.
If the French was rustic the New Zealand wine was kind of elegant in comparison. Which one did I prefer?, hard to say, enjoyed both of them equally for different reasons and they both showed well on the second day. As long as they remain at these prices I will be making the 10 mile journey to buy more of each for £4.39 & £6.99 silly not too, well done Aldi !.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
New Zealand 13.5%
Rummaging around my wine rack, trying to fight my way through many bottles of Spanish wines I seem to have accumulated and trying to ignore the temptation to pick out a bottle of Rioja I decided finally to try something different and something I wouldn’t normally have with Lamb Chops and Mediterranean vegetables the bottle I finally settled on was the Hawkes Bay Villa Maria Private bin Merlot 2013.
Always been a fan of Villa Maria wines and when attending tasting events Villa Maria is always amongst one of the first stands I usually visit, I particularly enjoy their Pinot Noirs especially the Reserve and their Cellar selection.
I opened this just before dinner and couldn’t resist a little sniff and sip and I must say I was slightly disappointed, trouble is I’ve had such positive experiences from Villa Maria I didn’t expect this. Another sniff and aromas of Cherries and plums didn’t exactly jump out of the glass although they were there if you inhaled for long enough.
Didn’t get any earthy or smokey flavours in the mouth, bit lacking in depth and surprisingly a little thin tasting, it was very fruity, full of sharp red fruits, including raspberry, cherry and plums. The tartness was the dominant force but it seemed to be much better when paired with the food and by the end of the meal I enjoyed it far more than my initial taste.
Having said what I have, I still think this is probably better than a lot of wines in this price range but the bar has been set so high with other Villa Maria wines I’ve tasted, this was however, a touch disappointing.
My Rating 6/10 Corks
Various around £10