Saturday, December 18, 2010

2009 Whicher Ridge Sauvignon Blanc (Geographe, Sample)

(Mike Hussey hitting a cover drive for four against Graeme Swann in Perth)

A quick look through our archive of posts reveals that we’ve only done one Sauvignon Blanc review, and that was in fact Brown’s review of the Rosemount Botanicals Sav Blanc ( The lack of Sav Blanc reviews reflects our general dislike for the variety. I’m possibly a bit more equivocal than Brown, but nevertheless it’s a varietal I virtually never buy of my own accord.

The reasons? First and foremost the flavour profile generally does little for me. In far too many examples I get cat’s pee (or an ammonia like smell), grassiness and passionfruit. The second reason is its general lack of complexity and cellarability as a varietal. Of course this criticism I have of Sav Blanc largely refers to Kiwi and Aussie examples. If you taste Sav Blancs from the Loire Valley in France, however, I generally find the flavours more appealing, without necessarily being enamoured with them, and there is a sense of complexity to these wines.

Which leads me, by way of a long introduction, to the 2009 Whicher Ridge Sauvignon Blanc. This is an Australian Sav Blanc from the Geographe region in Western Australia that nods its head to the wines of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume.

It has a pleasant nose of citrus, just a touch of varietal pungency, and a bit of what I can only refer to as fly-spray. I know that final descriptor sounds both strange and unappealing, but I get it in quite a lot of wines and in a small dose (as in this wine) I actually quite like it.

On the palate this wine shines. It’s long and poised, and has a lovely balance between its acidity and minerality on the one hand, and a nice touch of oiliness on the other. All of which leads to the wine having a fantastic sense of texture. Jeremy Pringle writes about this in his review of the wine ( and I very much agree. Texture and persistence are the lasting impressions with this wine, and as such mark it out as one of the most impressive, if not the most impressive Australian Sauvignon Blanc I have tried.


RRP: $22
ABV: 12.9%


1 comment:

Brown said...

For the record, I am generally not a fan of the New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc, though am more open minded to the (generally) more subtle, nuanced Australian and French examples of this grape. Still, I would argue that the lack of Sauvignon Blanc in my cellar is as much to do with my preference for Riesling, Chardonnay and Semillon (and numerous emerging styles/blends) as it is an unequivocal aversion to Sauvignon Blanc.

Also, I don't consider the Botanicals range as wines per se, so cannot criticise Sauv Blanc based on this! (I have no doubt the Chardonnay and Pinot Gris versions of this range would have recieved a similar score from me).

It is very pleasing to see wineries making Sauvignon Blanc to a different formula to the market-dominant style: Trying to imitate Robert Parker-style Shiraz failed abysmally for several Australian wine regions in the late 90s, and the more wines like this we see, the more hopeful I am that the drinking public will warm to the more nuanced, textural and subtle examples of Sauv Blanc. Well done to Whicher Ridge.

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