Now that it's officially spring, we are faced with the tradition of cleaning.
What better way to avoid it than to think about the dishes of the season and importantly, the wines to accompany them. There are few better ways to procrastinate.
Fresh fish, carrots are popping, blood oranges, young cheese and fresh garden herbs aplenty. There's also an abundance of good chicken around and let's not forget the trending 64-degree eggs or (let's credit the Japanese) Onsen Tamago - Hotspring Egg. If you can picture that in any delectable arrangement, we can come up with a perfect pairing.
Spring wines - Sauvignon Blanc
Let's leave our comfort zone of Kiwi S.B., perhaps even find our way back from a Sauvignon overdose. Let's forget about how the market is flooded with Sauvignon that is made to be so consistent and characterless you can't distinguish one bottle from the next. Bulk Sauvignon Blanc. How sad. Let's remind ourselves of how good this wine can be.
A Sauvignon that's regal beyond its price tag and superior to many of its over-priced peers. Cut-grass and all things fresh and spring. Beautiful nose of sweet pea and garden mint, black currant leaf and chamomile. Lots of citrus, green and yellow. Dazzling clarity and such poise. A lick of white peach, yellow plum and crunchy green apples. Refreshing acidity all the way through to the long and mouth watering finish. There's plenty of mineral presence and concentration too, very much reflecting the unique location that commands our attention.
Ormož in Slovenia is situated in the borderlands of Southern Styria, Croatia and Hungary. The rather flat plain with soil that keep the yields low, giving us concentrated juice, and windy conditions that keep away the eminent threat of rot or frost forming.
The winery itself is run by three friends Božo, Danilo and Rajko. A happy and innovative situation born out of an ambition to shift winemaking in Slovenia away from the fusty, old and complacent standards to winemaking that demonstrates the best of varietals, international and local, and integrity in winemaking. We're currently tasting our way through their range in view of further additions to this excellent Sauvignon Blanc.
The name alone would intimate the nature of this wine in terms of geology, quality and brilliance. From high altitude vineyards and volcanic soils containing... You've guessed it, quartz. Arguably, it's these soils that stimulate the vines in quite a difficult growing environment. Cantina Terlano is a happy Co-op with 100 members that was founded in 1893, one of Alto Adige's oldest.
Manual harvest and sorting was applied to this wine, along with barrel ageing on lees for at least nine months. That's one half, the other in stainless steel - this is to balance freshness with complexity.
The Quarz Sauvignon Blanc is famously one of the longest-lived whites, which is unusual for Sauvignons in general. If you want, treat this like a fine white Burgundy. It won't disappoint.
Drinking very well now, showing purity, elegance and power. There's moment of flint akin to that regularly experienced with Sancerre and an attractive smokiness. Such weight to this wine. In the glass, layers upon layers are revealed. From grapefruit to mandarins, lemongrass to mint, while the concentration of the liquid gives us stone fruits, white tea and the slightest hint of almonds.
Hope we have tempted you enough to get a bottle some interesting Sauvignon Blanc to celebrate spring season in style.