Jancis Robinson has this to say about sauvignon blanc:
"Sauvignon Blanc is a strange grape. It evokes strong reactions. Those who love it, love it with a passion. Those who find its flavours less than subtle, tend to be less than subtle in their criticism of it.
This is a grape characterised by its aroma and its refreshingly fruity acidity. If it is picked too late, it loses both acidity and the all-important pungent, grassy, leafy aroma that can vary from cat's pee to nettles to gooseberries.
The most classical European Sauvignon Blanc comes from the twin appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé on opposite banks of the Loire just east of the centre of France. The best of these wines have a minerality to them which distinguishes them from New World Sauvignon Blanc.
But some of the world's most famous Sauvignon Blanc is grown a very long way from Europe. New Zealand burst on the international scene in the 1980s with an extravagantly forceful, fruity style of Sauvignon Blanc and has never looked back. One region, Marlborough at the north end of New Zealand's South Island has set a benchmark for this style, in which bold flavours are thought by some scientists to have been encouraged by the notorious holes in the ozone layer in this part of the world. Here extremely vigorous Sauvignon Blanc vines seem particularly at home in the dry gravels of Marlborough's Wairau Valley.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the few grapes with which New Zealand has had more conspicuous success than its overbearing neighbour Australia. But as the vine moves into ever cooler spots in Australia, so increasingly crisp and successful Sauvignon Blanc is made. The Adelaide Hills and such cool parts of New South Wales as Orange and Canberra District are clearly well suited to Sauvignon Blanc, and Western Australia has evolved a distinctively refreshing style of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends."
JANCIS ROBINSON, www.jancisrobinson.com
If you are lucky enough to be in Melbourne this weekend, you can try Old World (Domaine Thomas Sancerre, Domaine des Caves du Prieure Sancerre and Jean Reverdy La Reine Blanche Sancerre) vs New World (Shaw & Smith, Dog Point and Cloudy Bay) styles at the Prince Wine Store. Also on the same card is a tasting of Muscadet from one of the regions star performers, Guy Bossard of Domaine de l'Ecu. As if this wasn't tempting enough there will be freshly shucked oysters as well.
Best of all, it's free!
Prince Wine Store, 177 Bank Street, South Melbourne, Saturday November 18th, from 12.oo till 2.00p.m.