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Times are a changing

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  • By Ashley
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Times are a changing

New versus Old

There are no shortage of opinions on "New World vs Old World wines"... the contentious point seems to revolve around the idea of brightness and body. Every venue has their own approach to the curation of their shelf selection, and we at The Bottle Shop prefer the light and elegant wines that pair well with food. In the coming months, we will introduce contrasting New and Old World regional wines of different grape varietals for discussion. This week we are showcasing 2 of the most popular grapes - Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah.

For a refreshing time, it's Sauvignon Blanc time.

Sauvignon Blanc has its origins in Bordeaux France, from the word "sauvage" which means "savage" or "wild"; a reference to its weed-like hardiness and speed in growth. We may recognise it most famously in New Zealand, for brands like Cloudy Bay or Villa Maria, with pungent notes of grassy tropical fruits like guava, gooseberry, passionfruit, etc. Below we explore three wines from different regions that have distinctly diverse characters of Sauvignon Blanc:


Baron Philippe de Rothschild Baronne Charlotte 2017, Graves Bordeaux

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Baronne Charlotte 2017, Graves Bordeaux

One often forgets how level-headed Sauvignon Blanc can be. Baronne Charlotte Graves Blanc reminds us that this varietal doesn't always have to the loudest in a party. This wine exhibits light to medium body, aroma of stone fruits, floral, and citrus notes, with flavours of light oak, dominant minerals, and stone fruits. Amazing to pair with seafood like fish and fresh oysters.


Isabel Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Marlborough, New Zealand

Isabel Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Marlborough, New Zealand

We all know Sauvignon Blanc is pungent - essentially a tropical nuclear bomb. We've all had those, but once in a while we encounter something more exquisite, more ballerina than hip hop. Isabel's Sauvignon Blanc is definitely the former, light as feather but exhibits an elegant tropical fruit palate including subtle grassy notes, lemongrass, guava, grapefruit, and passionfruit. There is a very subtle oak backbone to this wine which reduces the harshness often associated with this grape variety. This wine is a great weekend wine with barbeque seafood, gourmet sausages, and salads.


Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Western Cape, South Africa

Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Western Cape, South Africa

Can't teach old dogs new tricks? This wine will re-conceptualised what Sauvignon Blanc can be. This barrel fermented wine has a creamy body, a beautiful perceived sweetness balanced by soft acidity. Forward notes of nectarine, pineapple, fresh plum, gooseberry, and a long finish. This wine achieves the best of all worlds, a Sauvignon Blanc that's complex, with articulate fruit characters. Pairs really well with shellfish, salads, and cheese.


Big Love - the international infatuation of Syrah

Syrah, or shiraz, is theorised to have its origin from Shiraz, the capital of the Persian Empire, and brought to Rhone France. Wherever its origins lie, it's been adopted by almost every wine-making country. The varietal has amazing versatility, able to produce table wines, middle-class wines, all the way up to strong bold tannic wines for aging. Perhaps the victim of its own success, it is now synonymous to new world markets and entrylevel drinkers.


Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz 2020, Barossa Valley, Australia

Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz 2020, Barossa Valley, Australia

We all know how impressive RunRig and The Laird are, but for an entry level wine into the Torbreck, Woodcutter punches above its weight. Grapes from younger vines make up this wine, which is intense with black fruits like plum, dark cherry, with chocolate and liquorice. It's an intense wine but not offensive. Tannin and acids are well balanced. This wine pairs amazingly with strong flavoured food, like meat, cheese, but also good with lighter food such as garden salads.


Unico Zelo Tropo Big Red 2021, Syrah, Merlot, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Unico Zelo Tropo Big Red 2021, Syrah, Merlot, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Unico Zelo's Big Red represents the new ethos to contemporary wine-making in Australia - lighter, brighter, and more refreshing without losing bold flavours. This wine tastes very bright, soft mature tannins, medium acid, mature red fruits, complemented with subtle black fruits. I would chill this wine for half an hour before drinking, to bring out the brightness even further. Versatile pairing with food, including anything that can rest on a barbecue, salads, and asian food like curry.


Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage 2018, Syrah, Northern Rhone, France

Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage 2017, Syrah, Northern Rhone, France

Croze Hermitage is amongst the largest vineyards in Northern Rhone, which makes the wines much more affordable. Rhone wines are like the mature older sibling compared - a bit more settled, more considered, and definitely not as boisterous. This wine has a medium body, smooth tannin and medium acidity. On the nose is a nice bouquet of violet, red fruits, with subtle spice. Flavours are include black and red fruits, liquorice, and a little herbaceous. Pairing? Grilled food or Asian food.


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