Monday, December 6, 2010

***+ $ Stonewall Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand - Wine Review and Rating

Find prices and availability for Zagat Wine introductory mixed case.

By way of background: Stonewall Sauvignon Blanc is from the Wairu River area of Marlborough, New Zealand, finished at 13% alcohol, without any oak aging. New Zealand, of course, is known for its crop of sauvignon blancs, traditionally flinty clean, grassy and minerally.

Stonewall was acquired as part of the introductory Zagat Wine Club selection. It also seems to be a regular component of other wine club offerings, including such as WSJWine (Wall Street Journal Wine), the Sunday Times Wine Club (UK) and 4seasonswine.

"ZagatWine" - part of the broad Laithwaites Wine group from the UK - is promoted by the well known Zagat Survey group, offered by founders Nina and Tim Zagat. This collection included a case of 12 wines, with four reds and four whites each. The initial shipment arrives with a promotional pitch to have your friends join the club, along with one-pagers on each of the delivered wines.

Original Review, November, 2009:

In the glass: Almost water-clear, with an overall hint of yellow.

On the nose: Intense cut grass and sweet stainless steel compote. Wow. Almost makes you want to be a cow, hanging out in the meadow all the time.

On the palate: Smoother and more directed to the mid-palate than the piercing aromas would have suggested. Sweet slate on your tongue, unfolding with more acidic fingers of sweet citrus curling around your tongue and up along your cheeks. You may find starfruit in there too.

And the finish: After holding for a fairly long middle, wraps up citrusy-clean.

In summary: A balanced experience, starting with potent aromas, moving to a solid middle and clean finish. I'd do it again, yielding three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Best value, though only at the Zagat introductory price.

Updated Review, one year later, December, 2010:  Just a tad more honey color in the glass.  Aromas are still meadowy, more of hay than stainless steel accompanying the grass now.  Clean, sweet, balanced middle on the palate, round and elegant, not cloying.  Finish is clean with a nice linger. Adding a plus to the three stars for this balanced elegance.  Awesome value with this extra bit of bottle age - doesn't seem to need any more time.

With long decant, kept three days in partially-filled bottle under vacuum:   Aromas and palate remain consistent; just a touch of funk now in the finish.  Even longer decant, two more days kept cool without vacuum:  Still grassy in the nose, still consistent in the palate. This thing just goes and goes...

Find prices and availability for Zagat Wine introductory mixed case.

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