Everybody loves a good scandal, and this one’s got government officials scurrying for cover like sprayed cockroaches – from Barcelona to the Barossa…somebody has stuffed up big time…
Like with the rugby, the global dominance of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is annoying for every good Australian wine-grower and it is heartening to see the growers trying new regions, clones and varietals to come up with a contender to the good old Marborough cats-pee and capsicum concoctions of New Zealand.
One of the countries the Australians looked to for alternatives was Spain and in particular, the Albarino grape.
To cut a long story short, the Australians shipped the varietal in, planted it, labelled and started selling it…..then a few years later somebody in the corridors of power finished his tea break, looked at the Australian Albarino clone under a microscope and found out that in actual fact the stuff is NOT Albarino – it is something called Sauvinee Blanc (The word Sauvinee has a fabulous Spanish twirl over the “e” but I have given up looking for it on my laptop).
The Australian authorities are blaming the Spanish authorities who are denying any liability and the farmers, quite rightly are howling for blood, after investing in the varietal and its potential positioning in the global market. I first fell over the grape at an ANZA Wine Club Spanish night, and the first thing that came into my Chorizo and Grenacha addled-mind at the time was – “holy hell this stuff is good Sauvignon Blanc.”
It has the same acid – maybe a bit more refined. It generally has that same crisp acid potential that we demand from our Sauvignon Blanc together a fair slug of lush tropical fruit. It seems in short, a great Sauvignon Blanc alternative for those interested in the next-best-thing in aromatic whites, and how cares what its called – so long as it tastes good?
I have chosen a version from each side of the fence on this one to recommend.
From Australia, my flavour of the moment is Jim Irvine’s Albarino/Sauvignee Blanc from the Barossa.
From Spain – the source of the Scandal – Eidos de Padrinan Albarino 2008 from Spain.
We are doing a quick and simple twin pack today – you are welcome to double up or just slug one of each – as history lessons go its loads more fun than learning about the Magna Carta any day…