Anthony Rose: It's almost impossible to escape sauvignon blanc

 

Just when I thought it was safe to enjoy the autumn press tastings, I found myself drowning in a sea of troubles otherwise known as supermarket sauvignon. Seven at Morrisons, 11 at Oddbins, 11 at Marks & Spencer, 14 at Asda, and no fewer than 18 apiece at Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

It's not that I'm against sauvignon per se. It's just that since it became the default alternative to Bridget Jones's' chardonnay, it's almost impossible to escape from its ubiquity.

Like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc is the other popular grape variety that has migrated to so many different parts of the New World because of its cash-cow capacity. Cynical? OK then, because it suits the climates of New Zealand, South Africa and Chile.

Thanks to its chemical component known as pyrazines (also contained in cabernet sauvignon), sauvignon is prone to green veggie aromas and flavours ranging from the asparagus, green bean, basil and artichoke spectrum through to the more pleasant green pepper, elderflower, nettle and gooseberry and on to the tropical flavours of guava and passion fruit.

So what's my gripe? In becoming a brand name, sauvignon has succumbed to a bland, me-too, so-what, who-cares sameyness that's often uninspiring. It's difficult to match with food, so becomes the default bar-propping apéritif dull dry white.

Exceptions abound to every rule and it's perfectly possible to cut through the blandness and find excellent examples of the variety. One of the positives at this time of year is the fresh, enticing zing you get from the new nouveau, that is, just-made 2013 vintage sauvignon blanc from the New World.

Herb and gooseberry fool are the hallmarks of the 2013 Helderberg Winery Sauvignon Blanc, £9.99, Marks & Spencer; elderflower-infused herbal notes the trademark of the 2013 Waitrose Reserva Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, £7.99; exuberant, lemony-citrusy freshness the characteristics of the 2013 De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc, £11.99, Waitrose.

Maybe it's just as well, then, that sauvignon as such gets lost, or rather subsumed, in many of its best manifestations, in other words the refreshingly mineral sauvignons of the Loire Valley.

Enjoy, for instance, the intense nettley fragrance and clean, flinty gooseberry fruit of the 2012 Pouilly Fumé Les Champalouettes, £12.99, Sainsbury's, the spearminty tang of the 2012 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny, £10.50, Oddbins or the smoky, mineral intensity of the 2012 Domaine Bailly Sancerre, £15.99, Marks & Spencer. OK, done. Now, pass the riesling.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness