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Wine of the Week for week ending 27 Dec 2009
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Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009
South Island, New Zealand

When I tasted the Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009 at the Marlborough Wine Weekend at the end of October, I thought it was sensational.

It could have been the setting on the edge of a precipitous cliff edge with the salty breeze blowing in off the sea that gave the wine an ozone-like freshness. It could have been the marquee with the smell of drying out grass inside the marquee. Or it could have been the wine itself.

I was retasting the wine now because I had a bottle and I wanted to see how it would match to food, specifically a tomato and basil flan.

I made the flan because my freezer has encountered a problem (yes, the service man has been called) and the ready-made rolled out sheets of short pastry I had in the freezer were starting to soften.

I lined a large flan dish with the pastry to blind bake it while a number of small pastry cases in mini muffin tins were also formed. I found I could make 16 mini cases from one sheet of pastry, while I needed a sheet and a half to cover the large flan dish. That meant from the three sheets of pastry I had to use up I could make a large flan case and 24 mini pastry cases in all (now in airtight storage to be used for canapes on Christmas day).

The flan filling was made with eggs, flour, milk and three cheeses - the cheeses being good old stand by colby, freshly grated parmesan and a tasty cumin seed gouda. The cheese and egg/flour/milk filling was topped with leaves of sweet basil that are growing in the pots on the deck (and gosh, some of the leaves are big) and slices of sweet sensation and Roma tomatoes. We ate the flan after it had cooled and accompanied it with this and some other wines to try out.

When I opened the Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009, the smell of passionfruit filled the air. I immediately thought that it might be too fruity for the savoury dish. But on tasting the wine, the flavours of basil and tomato stalk were foremost with a backing of passionfruit and lime, a suggestion of grassiness and that delicious salty tang that I noted when I tasted this wine in October (and noted in previous vintages too). But over and above those delicious flavours was the texture - not slippery, not oily, not coarse, not chunky - just full of presence in the most pleasing way.

It was also sensational with the flan.

Simon Waghorn crafted this wine from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown by Chris and Lynne Wilson and Paddy and Anna Trolove on coastal vineyards on the Kekerengu coast. Is it part of Marlborough? Is it part of Canterbury? A moot point depending whom you ask. Marlborough sounds more romantic when it comes to wine. The vineyard owners may pay their regional district rates to Canterbury, though. Check out this link to see where Kekerengu is, approx. 69 km south of Blenheim town centre.

But who cares where it comes from when this NEW ZEALAND Sauvignon Blanc, is so outstanding. It's my Wine of the Week. It's also my Sauvignon Blanc of the Year.

Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has 13.5% alcohol and a screwcap closure. It costs $25.95 a bottle. It's part of Astrolabe's 'Discovery' range. Check out to discover more.


© Sue Courtney
21 Dec 2009

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