Sancerre is just one of those magical summer whites and for good reason: Can any other wine deliver the mouthwatering citrus-and-stone combo with such an elegant and refreshing zing?
New Zealand, as the press has pointed out over the last 10+ years, has done the "zing" part of this equation with an impressive intensity, though honestly to our palates the islands down under have very rarely produced Sauvignon Blancs with the finesse or complexity that a solid Sancerre effortlessly delivers.
While Mount Nelson is in no way the first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to work on a balance between the "elegance" and the "zing," it is, without doubt, the most impressive, seamless and finessed Sauvignon Blanc from the southern hemisphere we've come across in the past three years - and at an incredible value!
We cracked a bottle again last week for the staff (always good to double-check the palate, not to mention test for bottle consistency) and the 07 Mount Nelson garnered the entire Crush team's "thumbs up" in a way very few wines have.
The 2007 Mount Nelson was one of those hundreds of sample bottles (literally) that come into the store, relentlessly, every month, hoping for a place on the shelf. It's a sad tale because while we find a few gems in the rough (Baileyana Pinot Noir for one!), most wines very quickly end up on a one-way trip down the drain.
Mt. Nelson is one of those gems!
This is a no brainer, stock-up and enjoy Sauvignon Blanc that delivers WAY above its sticker price. While the "first Sancerre from New Zealand" comment is a bit tongue-in-cheek, there really is an old world sensibility to this wine, filtered through the non-stop, sunshine-induced vivacity that top New Zealand fruit delivers.
The wine is as fully fruited as you'd expect from New Zealand, though the finish also delivers this intensity with a balanced restraint, a complex citrus fruit that is unified and even elegant. There's a wonderful fresh florality and a dusting of fresh-cut grass and dried herbs that adds great complexity to the bright citrus. There's even a nice core of wet cool stones that (gently) tips its hats to the mineral-driven Sancerres of Chavignol.
Mount Nelson has a shockingly old world and aristocratic ownership - none other than the Marchese Lodovico Antinori and his brother Piero Antinori. Though Marchese is most often thought of in association with the Italian Super Tuscan "Ornellaia," the two brothers bought about 35 acres of the Meadowbank vineyard in 2003. While it'd be VERY easy to just focus on the impeccable pedigree and ownership of Mount Nelson, we tasted it before knowing the story. Yes - the truth was, and is, in the bottle.
With the prices of Sancerre at an all time record high due to exchange rates and the historical repute of the region, this wine delivers a more elegant than normal expression of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc while still remaining bright, refreshing and... yes - absolutely gulpable!
You will definitely want to stock up on this wine as it will be a lovely partner well into the fall and even through the winter anytime the dinner table offers up lighter chicken dishes or selections from the sea.