Diary Entry #31 - Astrolabe 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Dear Diary,

Today is Wednesday April 17, 2013 and I have what I think is a really special white wine to share with you all today! This particular wine was actually featured in Wine Spectator’s top 100. It was #59 on the list and it’s the ONLY Sauvignon Blanc to be featured this year. Wine Spectator also gave this wine 91 points. This wine also won best Sauvignon Blanc in 2006 and 2008 in the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) This is the only wine in the history of IWSC to wine 2 out of 3 years. So there is a lot of really great recognition given to this wine so this is why I'm excited to share this with you today.

The color of this wine is very clear…almost white, very crisp looking. On the nose I get lychee, very tropical fruit smelling. On the palate there are very nice soft acids, very smooth, nice soft mineral complexity, hints of mango and mellon – like honeydew (the green one right?). There are also some nice peach notes that come through nicely. 

There are a couple things that are interesting about this wine. Firstly, Simon Waghorn – owner/winemaker previously comes from Kim Crawford where he was the winemaker for several years there. He and his wife own and run this since about 1996 with 2 other owners.

I met Simon here in Vancouver when he was here for the Vancouver Wine Festival about a month and a half ago. I tasted all of their wines at their table and I enjoyed each one of them, I cannot say that for very many wineries – often I like one or two and maybe not so fond of another, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed all of the ones I tried at the Astrolabe booth.

Another interesting thing about this wine is that Astrolabe didn’t name their label after a bay, rock, animal like many New Zealand wines. Astrolabe is actually named after a ship called, The Astrolabe. This was a ship that belonged to an early French explorer who i believed was one of the first to discover the south island of New Zealand. Another cool piece of information, if you didn't already know, is that an Astrolabe is an early navigational tool that dates back to as early as 150BC.  So this is where the owners came up with their brand - they wanted to start this winery in the spirit of exploration & adventure. I like the intention of what is behind this bottle and other Astrolabe wines. Between the passion of Simon as well as the branding I believe they are doing something right!

I think there are about 10 to 15 different vineyards throughout Marlborough, that Astrolabe has source the sauvignon blanc grape from their own vineyards as well as other growers and vineyards to blend this bottle of wine. They do single vineyard bottles, but this is a blend of sauvignon blanc grapes from a variety of different vineyards. So this wine can vary from year to year even though they try to be consistent – it's not a cookie cutter wine from year after year which I think is pretty cool.

AstroLab only been around in BC for the last few years so maybe that is why you have not seen it at your local BC Liquor store, but it is there and you should try it. I think you should definitely try it if you are a fan of Kim Crawford, Oyster Bay & Cloudy Bay wines. Astrolabe is newer to the scene, but I think they definitely hold their ground and could potentially be a new favourite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

With summer just around the corner I think this is a nice wine that will help kick start those great afternoon and evening hang outs on a patio. 

Thanks for watching and reading this blog. I hope you enjoyed it and gained some fun new knowledge.

May the beauty you love be what you do. Come back in two weeks on Wine Wednesday for the next video!

xx.h