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Wine of the Week for week ending 31 Aug 2008
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Soho Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Marlborough, New Zealand

"Peach blossom," exclaimed Neil as he drew back the bedroom curtains this morning. The buds had been swelling for a while and the pretty pink flower was the first one to burst. In a few days the tree will be covered in blossoms. It will be a magnet for the tuis - they just love peach blossom nectar. I can't wait for next Saturday morning's lie-in when I will be able to surreptitiously watch the antics of the birds.

I didn't lie in this Saturday just past, however, as Neil went skiing and I stayed at my sister's place on Friday night and Saturday night, coming home on Saturday during the day to work. When I walked into my office and looked out the window, I saw a pair of mating pukekos from the family that has made my backyard their home. A few minutes later the first pair of fantails that I've seen since the onset of winter, chattered and sang and flitted and darted and swooped and tumbled and circled as they flirted with each other across the airspace of the backyard.

The first daffodils have been picked and are in a vase next to my screen and as I am sitting in a short sleeved t-shirt as I type this Wine of the Week this morning, it is like Spring is here already - at least here in Auckland.

Appropriately a new crop of the 2008 vintage Sauvignon Blanc wines had arrived for review so I took them to my sister's place for tasting. I was impressed with all four of them, especially the Richmond Plains Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Nelson, which is perhaps the most intense and concentrated rendition that I've ever tasted from this 100% organic label. But it was a new Marlborough wine that got the final nod for Wine of the Week.

It is Soho Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 - so pale with just a hint of lemon to the lightly oily hue. There's freshly cut grass on the nose, which is perhaps a little shy for the variety, but there is no doubt from the aroma that this is Sauvignon Blanc. So while the nose is not as exuberant as some Sauvignon Blancs that I love, the bright fresh zestiness in the mouth is simply scintillating. Lime and orange zest instils the juicy citrus flavours together with crunchy fruit in the apple, melon and passionfruit spectrum - all so beautifully balanced to that edginess of the grassy, herbaceous backbone. Subtitled "wine with verve" (I like that word), I note the fruit for this wine was picked on 26th March 2008 - well before any sign of the rain that plagued the latter half of the vintage season. The finished wine has 13% alcohol by volume and an RRP of NZ$21.99. Currently in just a few fine wine stores but soon to be in Glengarry's - you'll also find it in restaurants too.

I spoke to Rachael Carter, a co-owner of the Soho Wine Co, to find out more about the wines. Rachael is the former owner and general manager of Global Cap, a company that was established to focus exclusively on the New Zealand manufacture and sale of aluminium screwcaps, so it would be surprising if there was anything other than screwcaps closures on the Soho wines.

They own their vineyards but utilise a number of winemakers to make their wines.

Dave Clouston is contracted to make the Sauvignon Blanc. It's no wonder I like it because I was impressed with Dave's wines that I tasted at Wine NZ last year, namely his own label Twin Rivers and the Sugarloaf Wines that he is consultant winemaker to. Dave also makes the Soho Marlborough Pinot Gris while Neil Culley makes the Soho Marlborough Pinot Noir - which my sister simply described as 'Yum'.

Grant Taylor has made a Central Otago Pinot Noir, currently in barrel and there is a Waiheke Island red that will be released in the future too.

But it's not only the wines that are great, there's the label, the packaging and the very flash website - - too. Make sure you have your sound on when you click on the link, because there is mood music too. If you are like me you may think the white print on a black background a little retro - but retro is in right now, so who's complaining. Although I would suggest a high speed broadband connection, not to mention I was frustrated with the navigation - don't hit the back button because you will go back to the previous site you looked at, and when you hit the forward button, you end up starting all over again. However I'm sure that part of the process will be smartened up soon.

Getting back to the wine, can I suggest on the next sunny day you take your glass and bottle of sauvignon blanc to your outdoor recliner placed close to the blossoming peach tree, so you can observe the tuis, or in the garden where the daffodils are blooming. Crank up the PC's speakers, get yourself comfortable and sip on the delicious Soho Wine Co Sauvignon Blanc 2008 - it's the perfect toast to Spring.

© Sue Courtney
25 Aug 2008

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