Sauvignon Blanc is a tough one. It reaches some great heights in the old world (Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, but also as a team layer in Sauternes) but with a few exceptions for the most part (apologies to Sonoma’s Merry Edwards) its expression in North America could be best described as functional—it’s pleasant, agreeable and consistent. That all changed when the Kiwis got into the game and I think it’s fair to say that their transformation of the grape into a powerhouse has been the greatest white wine story of the past decade. Kim Crawford, Oyster Bay and Cloudy Bay are all names that have become worldwide players largely on the strength of their reasonably-priced Sauvignon. And yet, there are those who still shun the grape, not because of lack of texture and flavour, but because the very consistency that the kiwis produce it with is numbingly efficient. Sometimes you can never win.
All of which makes me wonder what sort of masochist would grow it in the Okanagan. With our insane land prices and Sauvignon Blanc’s association with lower cost wines (even the priciest Sancerre still checks in at 2 figures) it would have to be a labour of love—and it seems to be with Serendipity’s Judy Kingston. If you like the flinty austerity of Pouilly Fume, I’d probably take a pass, but if you’re a fan of the Kiwi style there are notes here you’ll love. First and foremost is the strongest and clearest grapefruit expression I’ve come across in a long while, followed up with some melon and lime. It’s intense and miles away from the insipid style that once marked this varietal.