David Hohnen does Sauvignon in Bordeaux
It’s a jungle out there with Sauvignon Blanc. A gazillion to choose from and here’s news of another from Margaret River pioneer David Hohnen (ex-Cape Mentelle), the man who helped put Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the map with Cloudy Bay. This time, Hohnen has turned his attention to Bordeaux.
UK distributor and brand developer Off – Piste Wines have teamed up with Hohnen to make a 2013 Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc called “A L’Envers.” French for upside down, it’s a reference to Hohnen’s origins Down Under. According to Decanter, 2013 is a 2/5 vintage for reds but 4/5 for dry whites.
A L’Envers was produced at Caves de Sauveterre in the Entre Deux Mers region and Hohnen told me “I have really enjoyed the experience of working with a co op and I am looking forward to closer involvement,” so watch this space! Below you’ll find my note on what is being billed as the joint ventures first wine. First, here’s a bit of background to the initiative provided by Hohnen:
“In October 2012 in Ely’s Wine Bar, Dublin, I enjoyed a glass of Bordeaux white that quite amazed me. On the back of some bad experiences with inexpensive Bordeaux whites I held a dim view of the category but this was an excellent wine.
One thing led to another and in July 2013, via my ex colleague and friend Rupert Clevely, I met the principals of Off Piste Wines, Ant Fairbank and Paul Letheren and their winemaker Clem Yates MW. They offered an opportunity to participate in a collaboration with the Sauveterre Co-operative of Saint Emillion to make a sauvignon blanc for the UK market.
The joint venture has access to the vast resources of Sauveterre in it’s hundreds of growers, state of the art facilities and skilled winemakers.
While honouring the traditions and provenance of Bordeaux, we have taken a fresh approach to sauvignon blanc, mindful of the popularity of the variety in the UK and the styles of wine that underpin that popularity.
During the 2013 season, a small selection of vineyards were followed through to vintage and from those wines a blend has been made that is now released in the UK under the name A L’ Envers, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux Superior.”
A L’Envers Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Bordeaux)
As crisp and dry as they come, this is an intensely (breakfast) grapefruity Sauvignon Blanc, lipsmacking and steely, firm and well-focused with pithy grapefruit and even a hint of lime zest. A bracing white unoaked Bordeaux which will appeal to acid freaks (- I’m not sure about Tesco’s “medium dry” description). Couldn’t be more different from Cloudy Bay – to my mind it’s a little closer in profile to a Pemberton (in Western Australia) or cool climate Cape Sauvignon. Serve well chilled with fresh shucked oysters and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Well done. 12.5% abv £12 at Tesco online.