Ahead of the O’Briens Wines annual wine sale (30th Aug to 23rd Sept) I’ve taken the opportunity to check in with a couple of my favourites from their range.
Astrolabe Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (13.5%, €22.45 down to €16.95 at O’Briens)
The Awatere Valley and regular Province Sauvignon Blancs from Astrolabe have been firm favourites of mine for close to a decade now. The Province is a great all-rounder while the Awatere is more subtle, refined and food friendly.
I’m not one of those Marlborough Savvy haterz, but one of the downsides to such an aromatic and expressive wine is that it can overpower any delicate dishes it is paired with. Awatere is the answer! Instead of the typical tropical fruit notes we are greeted instead by light citrus, flowers and herbs. It’s recognisably Marlborough but doesn’t have the usual overt fruitiness which is often perceived as sweetness – even if the wine is actually dry. Treat yourself to an elegant Sauvignon!
Gaia Estate Santorini Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2016 (13.0%, €24.95 down to €22.95 at O’Briens)
This is another perennial favourite of mine from – in my not so humble opinion – the best white wine region in Greece, Santorini – which happens to be a collapsed volcanic caldera in the Aegean. Assyrtiko is the king of grapes here, and Gaia do a straight up version called Monograph which is a great introduction to the variety (and is a total steal at the current price of €11.95).
However, the Wild Ferment is on another level entirely. A quick sniff after opening is enough for the wine to start showing its colours – fermentation with indigenous yeast gives it a wonderfully funky and exotic nose (not dissimilar from Kevin Judd’s Greywacke Wild Sauvignon). This continues onto the palate where it’s joined by fresh lime and lemon. This is a wine that deserves a BIG glass for extended swirling, or even decanting for half an hour before serving. Perfect with mushroom risotto.