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Wine of the Week for week ending 4 March 2001
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West Brook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2000
Marlborough, New Zealand

Hot day, blue sky, cool breeze and a glass of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Sounds perfect, and enjoying it with friends in a vineyard setting with a vista over the vines made it all the more so. West Brook Winery

Vintage Alfresco was the occasion and the West Brook winery in rural West Auckland was the location.

It was one of three of the region's wineries celebrating the onset of harvest with wines accompanying delicious food catered by Auckland's leading restaurants while a band provided musical entertainment. At West Brook the catering restuarant was the New City Bistro from Albany while Kelvin Roy and the Blue Stars played jazz classics in the background.

I asked if I could taste the wines before l chose one to accompany my lunch, a choice of a Chicken Salad Fusion - a sake-soaked chicken seared on the BBQ and served with salad, or Ararimu Grilled Frittata served with slow-roast tomato, grilled goat cheese and fresh herbs. Suggested wines matches were wines from West Brook - a Barrique Fermented Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Riesling and a Cabernet Merlot.

Well I wasn't in the mood for a red wine and I found the 2000 Riesling just a little on the sweet and fruity side. And while the 1999 Chardonnay, a blend of Auckland and Marlborough fruit, was very smart, l just couldn't go past the dry, crisp savvie on such a gorgeous day.

Label of West Brook Sauvignon Blanc 2000 The pungent aromas of the pale lemon-coloured West Brook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2000 gave way to gooseberry and passionfruit, then in the palate grassy citrus and the flowers of summer herbs combined with the ripe fruit flavours. The flavours were long lasting with the taste of apples and gooseberry lingering for a refreshing taste sensation.

The wine was perfect with the grilled goats cheese, tomato and herb components of the frittata dish.

I swapped half my frittata and cheese for my husband's chicken and salad (a pre-arranged agreement) and found that the sauvignon suited that dish too.

We refilled our glasses with the Sauvignon Blanc and lay on the grass under the shade of an umbrella, dwelling on just how delicious this wine was. At just $14.95 a bottle at the winery, it is excellent value too.

The grapes for this wine, which was fermented and aged in stainless steel, came from the Wiffen Vineyard in Marlborough and it was good to see the owners, Charles and Sandi Wiffen on a weekend sojourn north, helping out at West Brook today. They too have a very smart Sauvignon Blanc, which is also made by Anthony Ivicevich at the West Brook winery. Click here to link to their website where you will find out where to buy their wines both within NZ and overseas.

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