New brands from New Zealand offer cornucopia of summer fruits

The Grapevine

July 28, 2011|By Lisa Airy,

New Zealand has long been known for its tangy Sauvignon Blancs that explode on the palate in a riot of pink grapefruit, but some new brands have entered the market that offer a true cornucopia of summer fruit, and vegetables.

Mohua Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough New Zealand ($14), is pure passion fruit. Its flavors are lush, ripe and exotic, wrapped around such a core of vibrant acidity that each sip makes the mouth water. Positively stunning. It's flavors are so pure that it would be a pity to pair this wine with food; simply serve it up with friends and family. $14

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough New Zealand ($12), is key lime juice in a glass. Lime, lime and more lime. It's a natural with fish and shellfish. No extra squeeze of citrus needed on the plate.

Chimney Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough New Zealand ($12), is pure lemongrass, both tangy and tart. A great little thirst-quencher on a hot day.

Ponga Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough New Zealand ($10), is all celery stick with a hint of white grapefruit. It is clean, fresh and delicious and is a natural with seafood, its bright acidity cleansing the palate so as to make each bite of food as good as the first.

Whale Rider Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Nelson, New Zealand ($15), is lean and slightly green with a delicious combination of celery stick and jalapeno pepper. Fabulous with salsa.

Chile steps up to the plate with its own zesty style of sauvignon blancs.

The Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from Concha & Toro ($10) is all lemon verbena and green grass with a crisp finish. A fabulous wine with any lemon-scented summer dish. Ceviche anyone?

The Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc ($10) is austere and steely with a touch of asparagus and green grass. It works well with entrée salads, vegetarian dishes and grilled vegetables.

If we look toward France, we find the flavors of summer literally captured in a bottle of Drouhin Rully 2009 (Burgundy, $20) This exquisite chardonnay has gobs of golden delicious apple fruit accented by a touch of toffee and nut. The finish is all peak-of-summer sweet corn. This is one show-stopper. It has layers of complexity woven together with such incredible and tantalizing balance that one sip commands another and another. You will hate yourself if you only purchase one bottle. It's the quintessential match for the Maryland classic combination of fried tomatoes and steamed corn. $20

Austria delivers a lovely little summer fruit package in the form of Gruner Veltliner. Broadbent's version (2009, $12)) from Niederosterreich, Austria, is positively succulent with a hint of lime, unripe peach and green apple. Stylistically, it is midway between a sauvignon blanc and an unoaked chardonnay in weight, or mouth feel. It is both delicious and clean, and a great way to celebrate the Friday 5 o'clock whistle.

You can't go wrong with any of these selections. Each one has its own personality and charm. Although the heat is a constant anymore, these whites deliver a very cool way to close the day.

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