Wine: Fairhall Downs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Grape: Sauvignon blanc
Region: Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
In the glass: Fairhall Downs Sauvignon Blanc is a clearish, faint lemon-yellow color with a star-bright light golden core going out into a greenish-tinged to clear rim definition with medium viscosity.
On the nose: There is an excellent and rather complex array of passion fruit, floral white fruit, gooseberries, grapefruit meat, green apple skins, orange rind and underlying citrus elements as well as minerals.
On the palate: The wine is mature, but utterly delicious, and delivers a powerful cocktail of flavors dominated by soft medium-bodied fruit with Granny Smith apples and gooseberries, white currants, passion fruit pulp, juicy segments of grapefruit and a superbly defined balance. The midpalate is solid and harmonious, going into an impressive finish that lingers for 25-plus seconds, showing some hints of minerality and gooseberry right at the end. Fairhall Downs Sauvignon Blanc is a superbly made wine that serves up crispness and balance within a deliciously drinkable and fruit-filled sphere.
Odds and ends: I have often discussed how Marlborough is the top area in New Zealand, perhaps even in all of the New World, for growing this French grape variety. It is not difficult to pay more than $20 for well-known names of this type of wine, but when you can find one that is just as good for less than $8 exclusively at Trader Joe’s, then all the bells and whistles of great value start ringing. Factor in the immense thirst-quenching abilities of this lovely white wine when chilled to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and you’ll quickly understand why it is an essential recommendation for this scorching summer month. Fairhall Downs Sauvignon Blanc should drink well through 2012 and is fully mature right now. Try it as an aperitif on its own or in the company of a nice shrimp cocktail or a plate of king crab legs with drawn butter.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.