Our wine of the week

(by peter & susie)

Wine can be a great leveller.

Sometimes a wine you imagine will be a sure-fire hit with people just falls flat. Other times, your preconceptions are utterly vindicated in a very heart-warming way.

We were lucky that the latter happened to us when we recently showed Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (from £14.95, Berry Brothers & Rudd).

We love Dog Point’s Sauvignons. We hadn’t heard of them before we visited New Zealand last year. We almost turned the car round and went shopping when we turned up for a visit and couldn’t find the cellar door for love nor money (the tiny sign seemed designed to put people off more than usher them in, the gate was firmly closed and the dog was barking…) But boy were we glad when we left.

Because, for our money, Dog Point is one of New Zealand’s most exciting producers, making some of its very best Sauvignon Blanc.

Winemaker James Healy, formerly of Cloudy Bay, is not only a brilliant winemaker, but also an astute marketeer. You won’t see Dog Point too many places it doesn’t want to be seen. But our advice is to snap it up where you do see it, because these are outstanding wines that will no doubt be going up in price as their stock rises with time.

(The Section 94 Sauvignon is a quite breathtaking wine in its own right too, perhaps our favourite from the property. This is also available from BBR and well worth a pop.)

This straight 2009 Sauvignon Blanc has softened a bit since we tasted it on our visit (you can read our blog here). But it has benefited from the softening, mollifying effects of age, and the fact that it is still drinking beautifully is testament to its inherent quality. You could buy the 2010, which is sure to be punchier and more vibrant, but this wine is still beautiful.

The nose has all of Sauvignon’s natural effusiveness but has an extra dimension to it that keeps you guessing, intrigued, invited. Smokiness, fennel, a savoury charm that goes beyond the punchy lemon and gooseberry. You could call it minerality. Either way, it’s both haunting and inviting.

The palate is creamy in texture but vibrant, dense and intricately layered. Tangy and mineral. Effortlessly persistent. A joyous wine. 8/10

Anyway, back to the levelling.

We showed this Dog Point at a charity event we co-hosted recently in aid of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. We showed four wines in all and this was undoubtedly the show-stopper. Unusually for an event like this, people have been raving about it for days aftewards. While Susie and I like to think we put on a good performance – as did the chef from the excellent local restauurant The Bangkok Brasserie – this one wine risked stealing the show.

We served it with prawns in a tamarind sauce with cashew nuts – a beautiful dish that the wine cut through brilliantly well.

We’ll be reporting on the event in due course, but for now we wanted to share this show-stopper in time for the weekend. You can pick up this wine via the usual channels or by popping into Berry’s shops in St James’s Street in London or the Bin End shop in Basingstoke.