International Sauvignon Blanc Day: 2016 Adobe Reserva Sauvignon Blanc

5 05 2017

[This bottle was provided as a sample for review purposes.]

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International SB Day 2017!

I swear that not every future entry on this blog will begin with “Happy [Varietal-Specific Holiday] Day!”, but…Happy International Sauvignon Blanc Day!  Yes, there is an entire calendar of world wine days now, each concocted by various marketing geniuses, and as it turns out, a couple weeks after World Malbec Day and a scant four days before World Moscato Day comes a designated day to celebrate the safest grape to pick out of a strange new liquor store and the varietal that first introduced the vinous world to New Zealand, the consistent and omnipresent Sauvignon Blanc.  Unlike today’s grape of honour, I am not omnipresent, and as this piece posts I am actually going to be hanging out in Walla Walla drinking world-class Syrah; International SB Day falls on my birthday this year, and I am spending this spin-around-the-sun in my personal wine Mecca.  So the blog and I will celebrate simultaneously this year, albeit in different places and for different occasions.

FullSizeRender-591This year’s Sauv Blanc Day toast comes courtesy of many-headed Chilean producer Emiliana, which creates a vast range of wines under a panoply of labels made from grapes sourced from vineyards across Chile.  This bottle is from their Adobe line, which is so named in reflection of the traditional construction materials used in part to build their winery; Adobe was created as a “reserve” (or “Reserva”) line focused on single-varietal expressions, from Cabernet and Carmenere to Malbec, Viognier and Gewürztraminer, among others.  I put “Reserva” in quotations here because it has no legally defined meaning in Chile:  in Spain or Portugal, the word would connote some mandatory period of barrel and/or bottle maturation before release, but given that 5 months ago it was still this wine’s harvest year, that’s obviously not the case in South America.

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Stelvin Rating:  6.5/10 (Yes, it’s plain, but it’s GREEN! Very, very, bright green. Bonus points.)

The 2016 Adobe Sauvignon Blanc hails from the increasingly popular region of Casablanca, which is establishing itself as the vanguard zone of the New Chile, wholly distinct from the warm, mild big-red haven of the country’s Central Valley and specializing in cool-climate Sauv Blanc.  Located north of Chile’s traditional viticultural heart, due west of Santiago and right along the Pacific coastline (its edge hovers scant miles away from the ocean), Casablanca didn’t produce any wine at all until the mid-1980s but has since exploded to become a go-to for crisp, fresh, marine Chilean whites.  Adobe takes advantage of Chile’s cooperative weather and general lack of vineyard pests to produce this wine using only organic grapes; without a doubt, it is cheaper and easier to go organic in Chile than anywhere else in the wine world, allowing a sub-$15 bottle like this to be completely chemical-free.

FullSizeRender-590This Sauvignon Blanc is a pale green-tinged lemon colour and aggressively emits a textbook array of could-only-be-Sauv-Blanc aromas:  gooseberry, orange rind, lemon-lime and green leaves, all fresh and tropical and pleasantly herbaceous.  A surprising roundness of texture on the attack is gradually pared away by fingernails of acid, ultimately belying the colder, windier climes of the wine’s home soils.  It gets greener and leaner as it goes along, from key lime to green apple to sweet pea to grass clippings, before trailing into a Pop Rocks sort of prickly finish, saved from austerity by a barely perceptible trace of residual sugar.

IMG_5868One thing Chile can be very good at is providing proper, typical (as in “representative of type”, so not used pejoratively), delicious varietal wines at tremendous entry-level pricing.  Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that can hang in and deliver even in inexpensive formulations, so this particular combination of grape and place can be an easy value.  This example easily cruises past its $13ish price tag without breaking a sweat, a trick many grapes simply can no longer pull off.  On ISB Day, I will raise my glass to that.

87 points

$10 to $15 CDN

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