As strong as Pinot Noir from New Zealand has come on the last decade or so, Sauvignon Blanc remains its signature grape. Brancott Estate is one of the largest producers of Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Their portfolio contains several tier designations which feature among other grapes, Sauvignon Blanc at each level of course. In addition to those wines they’ve decided to create a Sauvignon Blanc that in a sense stands atop everything else; in short an Icon wine. This new offering is called Chosen Rows. Last week in New York City, they hosted a launch dinner for the wine and I had the opportunity to taste it with their chief winemaker Patrick Materman. We sampled Chosen Rows alongside seven other well regarded Sauvignon Blancs from key regions of the world. After that tasting we sampled other offerings in the Brancott portfolio along with our dinner. I kept a glass of the Chosen Rows in front of me all night and repeatedly went back to it alongside my meal. Tasting it in a flight is one experience, pairing it with food another. Here’s a look at Chosen Rows.
The Brancott Estate 2010 Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc is a limited release wine. This offering was produced from fruit which was hand harvested. All of it came from select rows of vines that are part of the area Brancott first planted to Sauvignon Blanc almost 40 years ago. This selection is limited to a grand total 3,500 bottles which are hand numbered. It has a suggested retail price of $65. Gooseberry and grapefruit aromas are dominant on the nose of this Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is gentle and layered with oodles of depth and complexity which present themselves to your taste buds in one tender wave after another. The unctuous fruit flavors are joined by a pleasing touch of savory green herb. This wine has tremendous persistence and an excellent finish which goes on for an impressively noticeable time. Continued citrus fruits, bits of grass and white pepper spice are all in play as things come to a close. On its own this Sauvignon Blanc is delicious and mouthwatering. When it’s paired with the right foods it’s downright ethereal.
The Sauvignon Blancs we sampled from other producers were all interesting in their own right and many of them were wines that have quite a following; Merry Edwards from Sonoma County and New Zealand’s own Cloudy Bay being just two examples. The wines on the table had suggested retail prices that ranged from $50 to $150. So Chosen Rows was showcased alongside very good company. Chosen Rows was quite easily my favorite among the group of eight high end Sauvignon Blancs. During dinner we tasted some other SB’s as well as a Pinot Noir. I enjoyed each to varying degrees; however Chosen Rows remained the star of the night. To sum up it’s amongst the very best handful of Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted it 2013. Its production is limited so it’s a wine you’re going to need to make an effort to find. If you love Sauvignon Blanc though you owe it to yourself to taste Brancott Estate Chosen Rows, it’s a special wine.