I'm back! Sorry for the hiatus. I've got a good reason for the break:
- As I said in my last post, we were in Ecuador enjoying our dear friends' wedding and in the Galapagos playing and SCUBA diving for 2 weeks
- I spent the following 10 days ailing from a nasty illness and then the joyful Festival d'Cipro that resulted. What joy!
Back to business! Thank you to my darling sister (the only regular reader of my blog -- god love ya!) for giving me a submission. You asked me to rate some of the South American Sauv Blancs reviewed by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/dining/22wine.html
I didn't rate any of the ones featured, but I'll get on it...it's the least I can do after you ROCKED your test, JWS! YAY! Here's a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc for you, even if it isn't in the NYT.
The Wine: Armador
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Price: $11.99 in Atlanta
Where It's From: Casablanca Valley, Chile -- a cooler valley in Chile that produces lovely Chardonnays and cooler weather wines.
The wine was a transparent yellow. Many Sauvignon Blancs are nearly clear, so the yellow hue made me think it was probably from a warmer part of the cool Casablanca Valley, or that there was sugar in the wine. That color surely indicated a lower level of acid, right? Sure enough.
Armador was interesting. There was a strong fresh fig smell, but it also had chemically/streamy aromas typical of Old World wines. I was missing descriptive words for a while because my brain kept thinking GREEN. The aroma was like bitter lettuce -- green and slightly peppery. I also swear I detected asparagus: M.C. Ice told me he detected my need to drink less. Whatever.
I sometimes like a simple wine -- one that tastes just like it smells. Armador, you've got that goin' for you.
The taste was GREEN, just like the smell. It had a medium acid level, nothing rivaling New Zealand, Sancerre, or even South African Sauvignon Blanc. After the wash of green with a nice burn of white pepper, the finish was sweet fig. Bizarro. There appeared to be lots of sugar on the finish (we call it residual sugar in winegeek land because it is traditionally what's left over after the wine ferments. Most time in a dry table wine it's a trace amount...unless the winemaker decides to add it back in to balance the wine or cover up flaws...which is what I think may be going on here). Ah...that explains the color.
The first part of the wine was interesting, the second part just like a lame California Sauvignon Blanc, which I usually find overdone, overripe, flabby, and not complex enough.
Got snap or is it crap?: Sadly, I can't say it's either. It's a real middle-of-the-road wine. I drink Sauvignon Blanc for its crispness, for its aggressive flavors, and for its herbaceousness. I'm disappointed by most California versions because they are so figgy, overripe, and non-acidic. Armador was a step up from affordable Cali Sauvignon Blancs, but I won't buy it again when there are so many other choices out there...Why drink ok, when I can drink something great for the same price!?