Shepherds Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2006
I picked this up because it was cheap and brought in by Stevenot, an importer who I’ve trusted in the past. Many years ago, Stevenot introduced the USA to McGuigan Brothers wines from Australia. Much has happened since then, with McGuigan going from little-known niche brand to mass-market, Stevenot filing and then recovering from a Chapter 11 filing, and many other details that have no bearing on the review here.
Shepherds Ridge is a 650-acre estate in the Wairau Valley of New Zealand that benefits from an alluvial, mineral-rich soil that features “pea gravels” — that is, pea-sized rocks that were carried by the Pacific Ocean and allow for excellent drainage in the vineyards. Interestingly, almost half of the estate is unplanted, and left as a nature reserve. This particular wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown on the estate, which also happens to be in the Marlborough region. If you are slightly interested in Sauvignons from the land of kiwi, then you probably already have heard about Marlborough. If not, I can assure you it has nothing to do with cigarettes, though there might be a rough-looking cowboy atop a horse in the vineyards.
That should be enough table talke to introduce the wine to friends at your next wine and cheese property, right? On with the tasting notes.
The nose is wide open and expressive, with vibrant aromas of ripe, bright fruit – limey citrus and gooseberry in particular. The palate is similarly expressive, with a big dose of ripe lime upfront. Acidity is mild to medium. Finish is rather quick, but pleasant. Enjoy it alone, or better yet, have it with appetizers, simply prepared fish, scallops, a Greek salad, vegetarian cuisine. This is a typical representation of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a fair value at around twelve bucks.