One of the most asked questions from media and customers alike. If I asked you, could you tell? Did you ever have that one Eureka moment?
For me, there are many moments in my wine life where a wine discovery brought a smile to my face.
Back then when I got into wine, because of my boyfriend being a winemaker, I thought wines from the picturesque villages of Saint-Saphorin, Epesses or Cully, all part of ‘Lavaux’ a prestigious Swiss wine appellation of the canton of Vaud, were the culmination of heavenly wine feelings. Planted on vertiginous, south-facing slopes overlooking Lake Geneva, the vines are blessed with a very sunny aspect, magnified by the bright alpine sunlight which reflects off the surface of the lake. The rather humble grape variety is called ‘Chasselas’. Also known as’ Fendant’, a fresh white wine we all sipped on the ski slopes. Ahh, those memories of the marvellous 20s and slightly drunken stupor on the last run down the mountain….
A few years later down the wine memory lane, with a more refined palate, I never forget my first encounter with a white Bordeaux, still vivid in my mind. The Eureka moment happened during a memorable lunch with now hubby, on the terrace of a lovely restaurant on the shore of lake Constance in eastern Switzerland. The owner, a total wine-nut, created a wine list that induced serious racing to even the most spoiled wine lovers’ heart. The wine, a 1989 Château Haut-Brion Blanc from a gravelly terrace of Pessac-Leognan, just outside of the city of Bordeaux in France. Château Haut-Brion is the oldest of Bordeaux's five first growths and one of the most famous wines in the world. With a terroir of less than three hectares and a confidential annual production, Haut-Brion Blanc is the most sought-after dry white wine in Bordeaux and consequently extremely hard to obtain. The 1989 vintage we so enthusiastically devoured, is one of the greats but the price may require a bank loan at NZ$ 3,707 (wine-searcher). Grateful forever, we enjoyed it for a bargain thanks to a very generous wine lover.
Given the grape varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon it must be destiny that we are now able to grow a ’little cousin’ on the gravelly soils on the banks of the mighty Wairau river in Marlborough. Needless to say, from less fame but of as great quality from the same low yield, similar terroir and winemaking without the need for a bank loan…. Enjoy both if you can!