Just finished a really lovely bottle of Casa Marin sauvignon blanc, from Chile’s San Antonio valley. Delicious. Stood its ground wonderfully with a stir-fry of beef with bok-choy, red peppers, mushrooms with peanut sauce – which is not such an easy task for a white wine. Then again, this sauvignon had an acidity to sweetness ratio that was pretty close to many New World rieslings – and riesling is a solid match with Asian food.
There was a very ripe character to the wine, yet with a sharp, refreshing acidity. The nose had a touch of fennel, but way more citrus fruit (on the edge of grapefruit, but not quite there) and a hint of honey, with a nice mineral character rounding things off in the mouth feel. Very nice length, and no heaviness, despite its 14% alcohol level. If you ask me, it could have been picked a touch earlier: it would have had a bit more grace and elegance, but I’m nitpicking, really.
Casa Marin’s Laurel vineyard is very close to the coast, and cooled significantly by fog and ocean air coming in with the cool Humboldt current. This makes its character closer to the Loire than to New Zealand – and I’m so glad about that. The resulting wine has a decent terroir expression, even though the vineyard is still quite young. Very promising.
The funny thing is that I’d tasted this wine before, about a year ago, and my notes speak much more of a fennel-green pepper range of aromas. The wine seems to be coming into its own nicely, and I believe it has many nice years in front of it. As a testimony to the advantages of Chile’s move towards cooler climates, you can’t get much better than that.